SUNNY VALE, California: Investors in online search giant Yahoo have given an emphatic thumbs-down to a proposal for the company to formally oppose internet censorship.

The company's annual meeting saw 74% of shareholders reject such a policy, while just four percent voted in favour of the creation of an internal human rights committee.

Yahoo, together with rivals Google and Microsoft, has been criticized by human rights campaigners for allowing governments, particularly in China, to heavily filter search engine results.

In 2005 it turned over a number of political dissidents' emails to the Chinese authorities, which used them to prosecute and imprison the protestors.

Yahoo defends its actions saying it is bound by the legal framework of the countries in which it operates, while Google has argued it is better to offer Chinese users some information than none at all.

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff