Singapore court fines Wall Street Journal editor

March 19th, 2009 - 2:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Singapore, March 19 (DPA) A Singapore justice Thursday fined an editor of The Wall Street Journal 10,000 Singapore dollars ($6,600) for three articles that the city-state’s government said showed contempt of its judiciary, a news report said.
Melanie Kirkpatrick, a deputy editor of the New York-based business newspaper’s editorial page, had acknowledged responsibility for the publication of the articles in The Wall Street Journal Asia that the justice found to be in contempt of court.

Kirkpatrick, who was not in court, has seven days to pay the fine, the online edition of the Straits Times newspaper said.

The three articles were published in June and July.

The first article was an editorial on Singapore’s democracy, the second a letter from pro-democracy activist Chee Soon Juan and the third an editorial on a report by a human rights institute on the Singapore judiciary.

Singapore’s attorney general argued that the articles “contained passages that scandalise the Singapore judiciary”.

In November, the Singapore High Court fined The Wall Street Journal’s publisher, Dow Jones Publishing, 25,000 Singapore dollars for running the articles, the highest fine so far for such an offence in Singapore.

Dow Jones denied that the articles constituted contempt of court.

Two other journalists of The Wall Street Journal Asia - Daniel Hertzberg, its international editor, and its managing editor Christine Glancey - are also facing contempt proceedings related to the articles.

Singapore leaders and officials have won large sums in damages after taking critics and foreign media to court. They argued that they have to protect their reputations against unfounded criticism.

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