Yahoo email accounts of China-based foreign journos hacked, pundits fear intensified censorship

There are a lot of things we take for granted in the Philippines–like email, for example.

In China, where the Internet is censored,   the Yahoo email accounts belonging to foreign journalists appeared to have been hacked and Google's Chinese search engine was intermittently blocked Tuesday, reports the Associated Press via GMANews.TV.

One of the foreign journalists, Clifford Coonan, China correspondent for The Independent and the Irish Times newspapers, revealed that he received the "issue with your account" notice when he logged in Tuesday. Another reporter said she received repeated error messages from Yahoo last month.

Yahoo technicians informed one of the four journalists that his account had been hacked and restored his access, but it was not clear if the other instances were related. Except for Coonan, the other journalists involved preferred not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.

It's worth noting that all four people affected are professionally focused on China and related issues. They said they also disclosed that other colleagues were having similar problems, including one journalist who lost his Yahoo account entirely in January.

In light of this incident, pundits believe that China is becoming even more strict with its Internet censorship policy since   Google Inc. announced last in January that   it might leave China after a series of cyberattacks and complaints about censorship. Last week, Google made a partial retreat, shutting down its mainland-based search engine and redirecting those queries offshore, to the freer Chinese territory of Hong Kong.

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