OLD Media Moves

WSJ contempt trial begins in Singapore

November 4, 2008

Melanie Lee of Reuters reports Tuesday that the Wall Street Journal‘s contempt case in Singapore has begun, with the country’s attorney general accusing the newspaper of a two-decades-long attack on its judicial system.

Lee writes, “Singapore’s attorney general is seeking contempt proceedings against the publisher of the Asian edition of the Wall Street Journal, News Corp’s Dow Jones & Co, and two of the newspaper’s editors, Daniel Hertzberg and Christine Glancey. ‘Freedom of speech in Singapore allows a person to criticize government policy and the decisions of the courts. There is no fetter on public debate about policy,’ attorney general Walter Woon said in court.

“‘When discussion of a court’s judgments becomes an attack on a judge or the judiciary, then the law of contempt of court steps in,’ he said.

“Singapore first took legal action against the Wall Street Journal in 1985 for contempt of court for an editorial commenting on the trial of late Singapore opposition leader J.B. Jeyaretnam. The Wall Street Journal apologised and was fined $7,600, according to newspaper reports.

“Woon said he was looking for a ‘substantial fine’ to be imposed on Dow Jones in the current case, but was not looking to cripple the company financially.”

Read more here.

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