Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp. and other providers of blogging technology in China agreed to try to sign up users under their real names and to censor their posts, a journalism advocacy group that condemns the accord said Thursday.
Under the accord with the Internet Society of China, an offshoot of the Information Industry Ministry, the companies are "encouraged" to register users under their real names, Reporters Without Borders said in a statement. The companies may be forced to censor content or identify bloggers, the Paris-based group said.
The agreement is detrimental to free speech because service providers would be forced to divulge bloggers' identities or be punished by the government, Reporters Without Borders said. The companies also are required to "delete illegal and bad information" from blogs, the group said.
"As they already did with website hosting services, the authorities have given themselves the means to identify those posting 'subversive' content by imposing a self-discipline pact," the group said.