Another WSJ Opinion, Another Court Case, Another Farce
The government is taking WSJ to court again, rather than let their hollow victory rest and move on. Singapore’s court already fined WSJ $25,000 last November for contempt of court over its blatant pro-Chee Soon Juan articles. In the latest twist of the perennial FEER or WSJ vs PAP battle with Chee Soon Juan as the provocateur and pawn at the same time, the court is now zeroing on the editor of the WSJ, Melanie Kirkpatrick. If it is any comfort to Melanie, the politicised legal attacks are also being dropped on international editor Daniel Hertzberg and managing editor Christine Glancey.
Sure do whatever is Machievallian to “punish” the foreign media for their biased support of only Chee Soon Juan and not the other opposition giants in Singapore, however spiteful that so-called punishment is. Nevertheless, singling out individuals in WSJ for further raps on the hand is overkill, and therefore rather counter-productive in terms of Singapore’s political image. Another sign that the PAP is clueless about how to stay on in power.
March 14, 2009
WSJ editor to face contempt
A-G taking action for articles that ‘scandalise the Singapore judiciary‘
By Zakir Hussain
THE Government is taking a senior editor of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) to court, accusing her of being in contempt of court in three articles published last year.
In the High Court yesterday, Justice Tay Yong Kwang granted an application by the Attorney-General to start proceedings against Ms Melanie Kirkpatrick, the deputy editor of the New York-based financial daily’s editorial page.
In court documents seen by The Straits Times, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) said it was initiating proceedings against her for ‘actions which resulted in the publication and distribution’ of articles that ‘contained passages that scandalise the Singapore judiciary’.
The articles were published in June and July last year in the editorials and opinion section of the WSJ Asia – which is the WSJ’s sister paper.
In the court documents, the AGC noted that the publisher informed it that Ms Kirkpatrick supervised and had oversight of that section. It understood this to mean she had ultimate editorial responsibility for the section.
The AGC’s move comes three months after Dow Jones Publishing (Asia), which publishes the WSJ Asia, was found in contempt of court for the same articles.
The first article was an editorial on Singapore’s democracy, arising out of a hearing in May last year to assess damages that Singapore Democratic Party chief Chee Soon Juan and others had to pay Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew for libel.
The second was a letter from Dr Chee in reply to a rebuttal of that editorial by MM Lee’s press secretary.
The third article was another editorial, on the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute’s report on the Singapore judiciary.
Last November, Justice Tay found, among other things, that the articles alleged bias and lack of independence on the part of the judiciary.