Microsoft and China Censoring Blogs
Microsoft is censoring the use of words “democracy,” “human rights”, “Taiwan independence” and other terms on the Chinese version of MSN Spaces in cooperation with the Chinese Government.
AP reports that Tala Dowlatshahi, a spokeswoman for Reporters Without Borders, said such arrangements are common when large technology companies do business in China.
MSN Spaces, which offers free blog space, is connected to Microsoft’s MSN China portal. The portal was launched on May 26, and some 5 million blogs have since been created, Microsoft said.
Chinese censors scour Internet bulletin boards and blogs for sensitive material, and block access to violators. Sites that let the public post comments are told to censor themselves or face penalties.
Adam Sohn, a global sales and marketing director at MSN said heavy government censorship is accepted as part of the regulatory landscape in China, and the world’s largest software company believes its services still can foster expression in the 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 here,” he said.
The journalists’ group has sent letters to the presidents of Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google, Cisco Systems and other companies urging executives to pressure the Chinese government for reforms on free expression.
Guest Columnist Duncan Riley is the Editor of Blog Herald, more blog news more often.