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Apple Computer subcontractor sues journalists for critical report on working conditions

(RSF/IFEX) - The following is an RSF open letter to Steve Jobs, Apple Computer CEO:

Dear Mr. Jobs,

Reporters Without Borders, an organisation that defends press freedom throughout the world, urges you to intercede with your subcontractor in China, the Taiwanese company Foxconn, and get it to drop its lawsuit against reporter Wang You and editor Weng Bao of China Business News (Diyi Jingji Ribao).

These two journalists were responsible for an article on 15 June criticising work conditions at a Foxconn plant. At Foxconn's request, the Shenzen intermediate people's court froze their assets - apartments, bank accounts and cars - on 10 July. Foxconn then brought a lawsuit accusing them of "smearing its reputation" and demanding 30 million yuan (3 millions euros) in damages.

We know that Apple is already aware of this case. After the London-based Daily Mail newspaper ran a story about it on 11 June, your company reacted by investigating conditions at Foxconn's plants and discovered that your supplier had indeed violated several aspects of your code of conduct, including those concerning the length of the working week and days off.

We believe that all Wang and Weng did was report the facts and we condemn Foxconn's reaction. We therefore ask you to intercede on behalf of these two journalists so that their assets are unfrozen and the lawsuit is dropped.

We trust you will give this matter your careful consideration.

Sincerely,

Robert Ménard
Secretary-General
Reporters Without Borders

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