Singapore fines Wall Street Journal editor

A high court judge in Singapore ruled on March 19, 2009, that Melanie Kirkpatrick, deputy editor of the Wall Street Journal‘s editorial page, was in contempt of court for two articles and a letter to the editor published by the Dow Jones-owned Wall Street Journal Asia last year, according to international news reports. Kirkpatrick was ordered to pay SG$10,000 (US$6,549), according to The Associated Press.  

The Straits Times cited court documents stating that New York-based Kirkpatrick was being charged for “actions which resulted in the publication and distribution” of the articles in the Journal‘s sister paper in Asia

The fine was the second paid by Dow Jones since Singapore’s attorney general instituted the charges in September 2008. The judge, Tay Yong Kwang, had already found the news group in contempt for the articles, which challenged the independence of Singapore’s judiciary in relation to another libel case, in November 2008 and fined it SG$25,000 ($16,400), according to news reports. “It is regrettable that although the Court already imposed a fine against Dow Jones, the Attorney General still chose to pursue additional contempt charges,” Dow Jones said in a statement provided to CPJ by e-mail by spokesman Joe Spitzer.

A judge in Singapore found the publisher of The Far Eastern Economic Review, another Dow Jones publication, guilty of defamation in September 2008.