Monday, November 7, 2005, at 11.30 a.m.
Overseas Press Club
40 West 45 Street, New York, NY 10036
Concerned by allegations that some American companies in the Internet sector are cooperating with authoritarian governments to censor speech and imprison dissidents, and by recent revelations of the role allegedly played by Yahoo ! in the prison sentencing of a Chinese journalist,
a group of 25 investment managers, research houses, foundations, and religious investors have called on Internet businesses to publicly state support for freedom of expression world wide and agreed to monitor operations of Internet businesses in repressive regime countries.
Following Reporters Without Borders’ lead, 25 North American, European, and Australian investment funds and other organizations, who collectively represent over 21 billion dollars under management, have endorsed a joint statement in which they affirm their commitment to freedom of expression on the Internet, and in which they agree, among other things, to monitor business practices being implemented in repressive countries by Internet-sector companies.
At the press conference, the two firms that have supported Reporters Without Borders’ joint statement from the start - Boston Common Asset Management LLC and Domini Social Investments LLC, will explain why their respective institutions are committed to the principles of the declaration and the business risks that face IT sector companies that collaborate to suppress freedom of opinion and expression. They will also discuss some of the concrete implications of this statement.
For the first time in the United States, Lu Kun, the wife of Chinese cyberdissident Yang Zili, will attest to the fate awaiting dissident Internet users and website managers in her country. In May 2003, her husband was sentenced to 8 years in prison for creating an Internet website advocating democracy - a case reminiscent of the one involving Shi Tao, who received a 10 year prison sentence in April for posting data considered to be a “State secret” on an Internet website based in the US. The Chinese police managed to identify the journalist based on information provided by the Internet server hosting his e-mail account: Yahoo !
The text of the investor statement will be distributed at the press conference, together with the complete list of co-signers.
Dawn Wolfe, Social Research and Advocacy Analyst, Boston Common Asset Management, LLC;
Adam M. Kanzer, Director of Shareholder Advocacy, Domini Social Investments LLC;
Lu Kun, the wife of imprisoned cyberdissident Yang Zili
Julien Pain, Head of the Internet Freedom Desk, Reporters Without Borders.
If you wish to plan to attend, please contact:
Lucie Morillon, Washington Representative, firstname.lastname@example.org, cell phone: (202) 256-5613
Or Julien Pain, email@example.com, 33 1 44 83 84 71