U.S. News

Singapore court fines WSJ editor for contempt

A copy of the Wall Street Journal is seen at an office in New York, July 31, 2007. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A Singapore court ordered a Wall Street Journal editor on Thursday to pay a fine of S$10,000 ($6,600) for contempt of court, following a fine last year against the newspaper for the same three articles at issue.

The court also ordered Melanie Kirkpatrick, deputy editor of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, to pay legal costs of S$10,000, the Attorney-General’s Chambers said in a statement.

The statement said the three articles, published separately from June to July 2008 in the Wall Street Journal Asia, “impugn the impartiality, integrity and independence of the Singapore Judiciary.”

“Public interest requires that the individuals who were responsible for the publication of the offending materials be also held accountable for their actions,” the statement said.

The sentence was related to a ruling last year, when the court found Dow Jones & Co, the publisher of the newspaper, guilty of contempt for the same articles.

It ordered the company, owned by News Corp, to pay a fine of S$25,000 and legal costs of S$30,000.

The statement said Kirkpatrick had previously been found to be in contempt of court in Singapore for a 1985 article in the Wall Street Journal Asia, which the court found had been “written contrary to the best journalistic practices that one would have expected from an international newspaper.”

Singapore leaders have won damages, settlements and apologies in the past from foreign media -- including The Economist, the Far Eastern Economic Review, Bloomberg and the Financial Times -- for reports on local politics.


Reporting by Nopporn Wong-Anan; Editing by Neil Chatterjee and Jerry Norton