CSR-Asia feature on Microsoft & freedom of expression in China

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Company non-response
6 July 2005

Microsoft did not respond to: Reporters Without Borders criticise Microsoft for censorship of words such as “human rights” & “democracy” in Chinese version of its weblog tool. Click here

Article
29 June 2005

[PDF] Microsoft goes blogging in China

Author: Stephen Frost, CSR-Asia

[A Microsoft representative] said such government censorship is accepted as part of the regulatory landscape in China, and the world’s largest software company believes its service still foster expression in country….“Even with the filters, we’re helping millions of people communicate, share stories, share photographs and build relationships. For us, that is the key point.”...Is Microsoft correct in saying that in the long run, the cause of democracy and freedom in China is best served by them being there...?...[some] Chinese bloggers called for their countrymen to boycott MSN Spaces, and noted that even the government allows them to use terms like “freedom” and “democracy” with no problems whatsoever. In short, many people inside and outside China believe that...Microsoft has displayed a failure of ethical leadership...for a company so embedded in the world that has given rise to the freewheeling blogging phenomenon, it has remained steadfastly silent.

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Article
28 June 2005

China's Internet: Let a Thousand Filters Bloom

Author: Rebecca MacKinnon, Research Fellow at Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for internet and Society, co-founder of Global Voices Online, in YaleGlobal

Despite the multinationals' claims of innocence – and ignorance – more and more critics...are calling for "consequences for companies found to be deliberately aiding censorship and political repression."...Microsoft...has stuck to the following statement: "MSN abides by the laws and regulations of each country in which it operates."...Cisco spokespeople say they are merely selling technology to China and cannot control how it gets used. [also refers to Juniper Networks, Alcatel, Huawei Technologies, Nortel Networks, Sun Microsystems, 3COM]

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