Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Blog Censorship, Courtesy of MSN and China

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The Lowdown
I've picked this up, courtesy of my friend over at Way Down Here, a NDP blog.
MSN has blocked the myspace blog of a Chinese blogger, after earlier censoring out words such as 'freedom and democracy.' MSN argues it is doing this to comply with Chinese laws.

Criticisms of an Angry Centrist

My question for MSN, then, is where do they draw the line? What laws are legitimate? Censorship is pretty bad, but where ethics are concerned, it's far from being the worst thing that can be done. Complying with xenophobic laws like there were in Nazy Germany is clearly higher on the scale of inacceptable conduct.
If MSN were ever to listen to me, I suggest it sets up some kind of company ethics commissioner (who could also work with whistleblowers and such), if there isn't already one. He should have the mandate to set company policy on issues such as this one, and the power to enforce it, both with carrots (bonuses, public acknowledgement for company employees who make an effort to follow these guidelines, financial motivators for China as it grows increasingly progressive), and with sticks (firing non-complying employees, going to court against, or to the renegotiation table (we're not going to give you our services, it'll cost you more, yada yada) with, the Chinese government, when such issues arise. Make it unpleasant for the people trying to cause unpleasantness to others.

MSN's Arguments
After reading the initial post, if you have the stomach for it, you can check out Microsoft's reasoning.


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