Foxconn sues journalists over sweatshop story

Written by Brett Thomas

August 30, 2006 | 15:43

Companies: #foxconn

Foxconn was reported to be using sweatshop labor for its motherboards back in June of this year, which ended up in headlines across the industry. The story caught interest after being covered by the Chinese Business News, prompting investigations by suppliers like Apple. The company has now sued two Chinese journalists over the story...but not because they were wrong.

Foxconn is a mainstream motherboard manufacturer that has really grown in popularity over the past year or so. It only recently started making motherboards for the enthusiast market, though - its bread and butter was (and still is) mainstream computer producers, such as Apple. Needless to say, when the word sweatshop started circling in a British paper, Apple immediately launched an investigation. In that investigation, Apple found numerous "concerns" about Foxconn's Shenzhen factory.

It was four days after the British story aired that the Chinese paper ran its own version of the story. The claims centered largely around labor laws that Foxconn has since admitted violating at its Shenzhen facility, but that hasn't stopped the motherboard company from filing suit in China for $3.77 million USD, a figure that the manufacturer feels is appropriate for its loss of face. The Chinese Business News says that it will stand behind its employees and the story, despite the hefty suit.

In the US and UK, slander and libel laws are no trifling matter...but it is not libelous if it turns out to be accurate reporting after all. This is not the first time that Foxconn has take journalists to court over such things, either - the company sued journalists in Taiwan for reporting things that "tarnished the reputation" of Foxconn in 2004, a suit it later retracted.

Having already admitted to the claims, is Foxconn just trying to punish the journalists for bringing it to the public light? What about the British paper that ran the story in the first place? Tell us your thoughts on the matter in our forums.
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