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Yahoo urges joint effort on Internet freedom

US Internet search has issued a rallying cry for online freedom in response to criticism for its cooperation with the Chinese Govt.

india Updated: Feb 14, 2006 08:56 IST

US Internet search titan Yahoo has issued a rallying cry for online freedom in response to criticism for its cooperation with the Chinese government.

"We are deeply concerned by efforts of governments to restrict and control open access to information and communication," the Silicon Valley firm said in a written statement.

"We also firmly believe the continued presence and engagement of companies like Yahoo is a powerful force in promoting openness and reform."

The company agreed that "knowledge is power" and vowed it was committed to the ideal of an unfettered Internet.

"Where a government requests we restrict search results, we will do so if required by applicable law and only in a way that impacts the results as narrowly as possible," Yahoo said in an indirect reference to its dealings with Chinese officials. "If we are required to restrict search results, we will strive to achieve maximum transparency to the user."

The statement came as Yahoo faces increasing criticism about it giving the Chinese government personal information about two of its users - actions that activists say resulted in the imprisonment of two Chinese dissidents.

US lawmakers and activists have assailed Yahoo and a handful of other Internet companies, including Google, for what is seen as giving in to Chinese restrictions on free speech. A congressional hearing was set tomorrow to discuss the issues.

The Yahoo statement made no specific reference to China. But it said the quest for a free and unrestricted Internet requires help from governments, industry and others.

First Published: Feb 14, 2006 03:28 IST