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Welcome to the Resource Centre

We make it our mission to work with advocates in civil society, business and government to address inequalities of power, seek remedy for abuse, and ensure protection of people and planet.

Both companies and impacted communities thank us for the resources and support we provide.

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Thank you,
Phil Bloomer, Executive Director

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Denial of freedom of expression - an introduction

Below are select introductory materials on business and freedom of expression.  Further reports from a wide range of sources are in the denial of freedom of expression section of our site.

Key international standards

Universal Declaration of Human Rights: article 19 

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: article 19.2

Human Rights Committee: General Comment 10

Key reports & guidance

Principles on Freedom of Expression and Privacy, Global Network Initiative

Race to the bottom – Corporate complicity in Chinese internet censorship, Human Rights Watch, Aug 2006

Concerns, company responses and non-responses

The Resource Centre invites companies to respond to allegations of misconduct.  Below are examples of allegations and company responses regarding freedom of expression.  We also indicate when a company has not responded.

China: Amnesty Intl. urges Yahoo!, Microsoft, Google not to cooperate with Chinese Govt's censorship & prosecution of dissidents, May 2006. Responses by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!

China: Reporters Without Borders says Yahoo! implicated in jailing of a third cyber-dissident, Apr 2006. No response received from Yahoo!

China: 3 international human rights experts (Mary Robinson, Sir Geoffrey Chandler, Nick Howen) criticise Yahoo!’s response to its involvement in the case of journalist Shi Tao (in which it said only that it “complies with national laws”), Sep 2005. No response received from Yahoo!

China: Reporters Without Borders & others criticise Yahoo! for providing details to Chinese government that led to journalist Shi Tao’s imprisonment, Sep 2005. Yahoo! response

China: Reporters Without Borders criticises Microsoft for censorship of words such as “human rights” & “democracy” in Chinese version of its weblog tool, Jul 2005. No response received from Microsoft.

Egypt: Former WorleyParsons Komex employee alleges dismissal after involvement in peaceful pro-democracy sit-in was due to his political activities, Jun 2006. WorleyParsons Komex response.

Iran: Nokia Siemens Networks' provision of technology to Iran, used to monitor & control phone communications, Jul 2009.  Nokia response.

Lawsuits against companies regarding denial of freedom of expression

Yahoo! lawsuit (re China)

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Related stories and components

Article
5 November 2019

Morrison's boycott plan sparks free-speech furore

Author: David Crowe, Sydney Morning Herald

2 November 2019....

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Article
25 June 2009

Technology, business, & democratic rights in Iran

Author: Chip Pitts, CSR Law

…[C]ensorship, surveillance, and propaganda remain distressingly effective in many countries, including Iran. And when they involve technology, they sometimes involve charges of corporate complicity…The possibility that Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) ...

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Article
28 October 2008

Diverse Coalition Launches New Effort to Respond to Government Censorship and Threats to Privacy

Author: Global Network Initiative

In an effort to protect and advance the human rights of freedom of expression and privacy, a diverse coalition of leading information and communications companies, major human rights organizations, academics, investors and technology leaders today...

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Article
1 October 2006

Yahoo tries to mend some fences

Author: Norm Cohen, New York Times

...[B]arely seven months after being excoriated for giving information about a professional journalist to Chinese authorities, Yahoo has donated $1 million to Stanford University's John S. Knight Fellowships for Professional Journalists. The gift,...

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Article
12 June 2006

Released detainee fired from his job [Egypt]

Author: Hossam el-Hamalawy, Arabist.net

I received a message from Kefaya activist Ahmad el-Droubi—who was detained by State Security police on April 24, then taken to Tora Prison for 33 days—saying he was fired from his job, as an ecologist with WorleyParsons Komex. The decision, according...

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Article
11 May 2006

Fighting for human rights in cyberspace

Author: Amnesty International

The internet is the new frontline in the fight for human rights. The initial grace period in which internet-users enjoyed complete freedom, while the authorities caught up with the technology, has ended. Governments are increasingly monitoring web,...

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Article
19 April 2006

Yahoo accused of helping jail Chinese Internet writer

Author: Reuters

Yahoo Inc. may have helped Chinese police to identify an Internet writer [Jiang Lijun] who was subsequently jailed for four years for subversion in the third such case, an advocacy group for journalists said on Wednesday... "Little by little we are...

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Article
31 January 2006

Microsoft revamps blogging policy

Author: Jeremy Kirk, IDG News Service

After outrage from many of its own employees over its abrupt censoring of a Chinese blogger, Microsoft has formulated a new policy to deal with requests from a government that alleges posted material violates its laws...Microsoft's top lawyer, Brad...

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Company response
13 September 2005

Yahoo! response to concerns regarding its role in arrest of Chinese journalist Shi Tao

Author: Yahoo!

Just like any other global company, Yahoo! must ensure that its local country sites must operate within the laws, regulations and customs of the country in which they are based.

Read full response

Article
7 September 2005

Firms face moral dilemma in China

Author: Jane Wakefield, BBC

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders has accused Yahoo of being "a police informant for the Chinese regime", following allegations that information supplied by the company helped jail a journalist...Both Microsoft and Yahoo are yet to respond to...

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