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Amnesty appeal for journalist that Yahoo! helped send to jail

As Internet giant Yahoo! prepares to answer questions before the US congressional House Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday 6 November, Amnesty International has reiterated its call on the company to use its influence to secure the release of Chinese journalist Shi Tao. Yahoo! should also exhaust all judicial remedies and appeals before complying in future with Chinese directives with human rights implications and develop an explicit human rights policy, said Amnesty.

Amnesty has also urged people who care about online free speech to contact Yahoo! directly. The human rights organisation is asking people to go to its website and take an e-action for Shi Tao.

Yahoo!, via its Chinese partner company, Alibaba, has provided the Chinese authorities with private and confidential information about its users that has been used to convict and imprison journalists. It has also agreed to censor and deny access to information.

Chinese journalist Shi Tao used his Yahoo! account to email a US-based website about an internal government directive instructing journalists how to handle media coverage of the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison for "illegally providing state secrets to foreign entities". Yahoo! provided information to the government that was used in his prosecution.

Nick Dearden, part of Amnesty’s delegation to next week’s Internet Governance Forum, said:

“Yahoo! helped the Chinese authorities jail Shi Tao – something most web users will find pretty despicable. If enough of Yahoo!’s customers tell them that they’re not happy with the company’s actions in China, we hope it will make them think again.”

An Amnesty International delegation will attend the Internet Governance Forum (IGF, Rio 12-16 Nov) to discuss the future of the Internet. Amnesty will release a statement to the IGF and its delegation will aim to ensure that human rights are not sidelined and remain at the heart of the forum’s discussions.

Over 74,000 people have joined Amnesty’s campaign ( which calls for an end to unwarranted online censorship and the imprisonment of bloggers and other web users.

Pictures of Shi Tao are available from the Amnesty press office.

  • Take action for Shi Tao /li>

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