09/09/2005, 00.00
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Yahoo accused of informing on jailed Hong Kong journalist

Hong Kong (AsiaNews/SCMP) – Reporters Without Borders has accused Yahoo! Hong Kong of helping the Chinese government trace a journalist's e-mail. Mr Shi Tao, the author of the e-mail 'offence', was arrested on charges of illegally providing state secrets to foreigners and sentenced to ten years in prison.

Yahoo! Hong Kong has defended itself against accusations it betrayed the journalist, saying it had to abide by the laws of each country it operates in.

"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," Yahoo! spokeswoman Mary Osako said in a read statement. No where does she directly mention the Shi Tao case.

Reporters Without Borders has claimed that court documents from Shi's trial show that information provided by Yahoo! helped authorities convict the journalist.

Press freedom spokesman for the Hong Kong Journalists' Association, Lo King-wah, said Yahoo! was considered to be a media group and had an obligation to protect the content of its users.

"Of course we oppose any restrictions on the free flow of information and condemn the sentencing of Shi Tao," Mr Lo said. "The e-mail he sent was not really a state secret and we consider it is very bad of Yahoo to reveal names or content. This was very detrimental to press freedom."

Human rights group Privacy International has called on internet users to boycott Yahoo! for its reprehensible action.

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