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Archive for May 12th, 2010

The South Korean electronics giant Samsung’s libel suit against a British columnist shows both the power of corporate conglomerates and a different view of defamation, satire and free speech.

See this article by John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times, May 10 2010 – In his Christmas Day 2009 column for the Korea Times, Michael Breen had decided to lampoon such national newsmakers as President Lee Myung-bak and the pop idol Rain. Samsung is now pursuing libel charges against the writer individually.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/asia/la-fg-korea-samsung-20100510,0,5749941.story

Note that the article points out: The lawsuit refers to Breen as a Korean “specialist” with wide-ranging influence. Since 80% of its revenues are from overseas, the firm is sensitive to any “minor accident or mistake” that could adversely affect its international reputation, the suit said.

80% of revenues from overseas…. it’s up to the rest of the world to strongly condemn Samsung for its labour and corrupt practices! Let the firm be sensitive to minor accidents or mistakes – and change! Samsung, be responsible!

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Here is a new blog post from Care2 about Samsung and SHARPS – it is excellent and includes a poll at the end asking if Samsung is responsible (94% say yes) and also a number of comments that are quite good (the petition now has almost 4400 signatures)

http://www.care2.com/causes/environment/blog/blowing-the-whistle-on-samsung-s-dirty-little-secret/

Blowing The Whistle On Samsung’s Deadly Little Secret

Do you have a television? Radio? Cell phone? Digital camera?

Chances are pretty good that at least one of these appliances is made by Samsung, and even if you don’t see a Samsung appliance now, you’ve probably owned one in the past, or will in the future.

With taglines like “Turn on Tomorrow,” Samsung has gone from a little electronics company to the conglomerate that’s seen everywhere. Although Samsung’s products might be on the cutting edge of technology, most people are unaware of its crude and unfair attitudes toward worker health.

Family members and friends of these workers at Samsung in Korea believe that they have discovered a cancer cluster among young workers exposed to toxic chemicals.

USA Today reported that the company is desperately trying to reassure the public that its products are safe after a January lawsuit involving six people. All six developed leukemia and lymphoma they claim was caused by exposure to radiation and benzene, a carcinogen, in Samsung chip factories.

Last month was the 3rd anniversary of the death of Yu-mi Hwang, a Samsung semiconductor factory worker, who died from leukemia at age 22, but despite public concerns, Samsung has stonewalled.

The company says that Yu-mi’s rare episode of cancer, the miscarriage in the worker that came next and the leukemia in the worker that came after that, all from the same work station, and all the other leukemia sufferers, 10 deaths total- are all still unrelated to conditions inside the Samsung factory, but the families aren’t buying this line- and neither should you.

Despite its public committment to eliminate PVC and BFRs from new models of all its products by 2010, Samsung has only offered up two phones which don’t contain these toxic substances (Blue Earth GT-S7550 and Reclaim M560).

Yu-mi’s family, co-workers, friends and other concerned people have formed SHARPS (Supporters for the Health And Rights of People in the Semiconductor Industry) to demand justice for the dead and safer conditions for the workers who make our electronic gadgets.

Care2 has joined with SHARPS, The Center for Environmental Health, and the Electronics Take Back Coalition to demand that Samsung:

1) accept responsibility for the hazards of semiconductor manufacturing;
2) compensate those harmed; and
3) prevent future suffering and mistreatment of workers by making Samsung a toxics-free model workplace where workers are treated with dignity and respect.

Join us in asking Samsung to come clean regarding the chemical hazards of working in their factories.

Note: No one is sure what actually takes place on Samsung’s semiconductor manufacturing lines (because Samsung doesn’t allow photographs in its semiconductor unit) but it is known that too many workers are dying.

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