Google/China and The Onion

Here’s my question: If a major corporation wants to enter the global world and introduce new countries to their services, do they have to respect the traditions and social constraints of the cultures they are entering, even when those traditions and norms are completely backwards and against the corporation policies, or even what Americans would consider privacy and free speech? When Google entered China they were all set on doing what they had to in order to make a smooth transition into that culture. According to an ABC news article , “China’s foreign ministry reiterated a commonly heard refrain here today at a regularly scheduled news briefing. “Foreign firms in China should respect China’s laws and regulations and respect China’s public customs and traditions, and assume the corresponding social responsibilities, and of course Google is no exception,” Ma Zhouxu said.”

That “respect” was called into question when someone inside of China used the Google search engine to hack into email accounts and target human rights activists – something that created a huge outburst of indignation. Now, as Google threatens to withdraw from China unless they can come to some agreement about censorship, many questions are being asked. In upholding the rights to free speech and activity around the world, is Google losing out on a major source of income and globalization opportunities? Which one is more important? I certainly know what my opinion on the matter is (I’m all for the former) but when monetary funds come into question the waters grow a little murky. I guess we’ll just have to see what Google decides.

I know we’ve talked about it in class a little, but what do we think…is The Onion http://www.theonion.com/content/index a good example of print alternative media, or even radical journalism? It’s funny, but it’s also thought provoking. It’s fairly well-known, but does its large readership take it into the realm of the mainstream?

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