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Robert Scoble, is embroiled in a controversy with Rebecca MacKinnon, former CNN reporter and now a research scholar at The Berkman Cetner for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, over his stance on free speech in China. I know, like and respect them both.
Her side here, here and here.
His is here, here , where he wrote, “I should have stayed out of this. Someday I’ll learn. ;-).”and here.
Scoble is in a hairy area right now. As Microsoft’s highly visible spokesman, he couldn’t really stay out of it. He is and isn’t the national spokesperson for Microsoft. The company needs to make an official statement on this issue. It’s not going away and it’s global.
It began with a report in Financial Times saying that “Microsoft’s new Chinese internet portal has banned the words “democracy” and “freedom” from parts of its website in an apparent effort to avoid offending Beijing’s political censors.”
Scoble’s post What I do when the probability of getting Slashdotted is high has good advice on what to do when in the midst of a PR firestorm. The most important point “6) Be absolutely accurate. Think about what your words will look like on the front page of the New York Times.”
Bob Cox (also a friend) of The National Debate, and president of the Media Bloggers Association, called for a blogger boycott of MSN Spaces. It’s not that quite that drastic! MacKinnon noted that she’s been able to use the word “democracy” in posts of MSN blogs she set up in China.
As of yesterday, Technorati, which is rarely up to date, reports 196 blog posts worldwide. Stay tuned.