Steve Jobs has been personally approached and asked to intercede in a defamation court case in China where two journalists exposed the poor work conditions at an iPod factory.

Reporters Without Borders have published an open letter to the Apple CEO after two Chinese journalists had their assets seized when Hongfujin Precision Industry Co. sued China Business News for defamation.

In it, the group urges Jobs to "intercede with your subcontractor in China, the Taiwanese company Foxconn, and get it to drop its lawsuit against reporter Wang You and editor Weng Bao of China Business News." The contract manufacturer had been named by Bao and You in a story that followed up a report in the Mail on Sunday that it violated several aspects of your Apple's code of conduct, including the length of the working week and days off.

"These two journalists were responsible for an article on 15 June criticising work conditions at a Foxconn plant. At Foxconn’s request, the Shenzen intermediate people’s court froze their assets - apartments, bank accounts and cars - on 10 July. Foxconn then brought a lawsuit accusing them of 'smearing its reputation' and demanding 30 million yuan (3 millions euros) in damages," the letter continued.

Earlier this month, Apple released the results of its own internal investigation, saying it had found few violations at the iPod Nano manufacturing facility. But that report itself has been criticised as talking to too few workers in only select parts of the factory.

Neither Apple nor Foxconn have yet to respond.