Dow Jones angry at Singapore contempt finding

A S$10,000 fine has been handed to a Wall Street Journal senior editor over three articles that were found to have insulted Singapore’s judiciary.

 

New York-based Melanie Kirkpatrick was found to have been in contempt for allowing the newspaper to question the integrity of city courts.

 

She had been the editor overseeing two editorials and a comment piece by Chee Soon Juan of the opposition Democratic Party, in the Asian Wall St Journal in mid-2008.

 

Last November, the newspaper was found to have been in contempt and was ordered to pay S$30,000 in legal costs. The ruling against Ms Kirkpatrick was handed down yesterday with the S$20,000 legal bill.

 

The newspaper owner, Dow Jones, condemned the action against an individual editor, saying it was “regrettable” the government had been determined to pursue an individual. Initially, the Attorney-General had intended to pursue two of Ms Kirkpatrick’s colleagues as well.

 

The company statement said neither Ms Kirkpatrick nor the company agreed with the “the substance of the charges or the contempt judgment”.

 

Dow Jones would continue to defend the right “to report and comment on matters of international importance, including matters concerning Singapore”.

 

The Government has argued the case – and those similar to it involving foreign publications – was essential to maintain the reputation of the country.

 

Reporters Without Borders said earlier in an Agence France-Presse report that the action showed a “chronic inability to tolerate criticism”.

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