Journalism school won't return Yahoo's controversial $1M grant

Some free speech advocates call the grant "blood money," and say the Stanford program should return the grant. Snip from a San Jose Mercury News article by K. Oanh Ha:

A prestigious journalism fellowship says it has no plans to return a $1 million grant from Yahoo, despite a spirited debate over the company's record on freedom of expression. But the director of the John S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford University said the program is considering holding a forum to engage Yahoo and other media companies about operating in repressive countries.

Yahoo intended the donation to "demonstrate our support for freedom of expression," said a spokeswoman, but it has instead revived attention to the company's controversial practices in China, where it has turned over user information to Chinese authorities. The Sunnyvale company has supplied information to Chinese law enforcement that led to the arrests of two journalists and two other Chinese dissidents, according to Human Rights Watch.

Link, see also "Yahoo money sparks debate over journalism fellowship" at the San Francisco Chronicle: Link. (via Romenesko) Here's the John S. Knight Fellowship's press release about the grant: Link.

Here are pointers to some of the reasons why people are upset with Yahoo over these issues, and here are more: Link.

(1) The first case in which Yahoo is said to have helped Chinese authorities jail a journalist involved Shi Tao. He's still in prison, and is sentenced to stay there for another nine years.

(2) Yahoo was also implicated in the case of internet dissident Li Zhi. He was sentenced to 8 years.

(3) The third case involving reported data-sharing by Yahoo with PRC authorities is that of Jiang Lijun. He's incarcerated, too, serving a four-year sentence.

That's three lives, for a total of 21 years in prison. When I interviewed a Yahoo spokesperson earlier this year about this series of incidents, I asked whether the company (and specifically Yahoo! China, now controlled by China-based Alibaba, which Yahoo owns 40% of) may have been involved in more cases. I never received a definitive response.