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"Wall Street Journal" editor Melanie Kirkpatrick faces "contempt of court" charges following publication of articles about judiciary

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders deplores high court judge Tay Yong Kwang's decision to give the attorney-general a green light to start contempt of court proceedings against Melanie Kirkpatrick, the deputy editor of the "Wall Street Journal"'s editorial page, in connection with two editorials and an op-ed piece about the Singaporean judiciary published in the newspaper's Asia edition in June and July 2008.

"We urge the high court to reverse this decision in order not to jeopardise the freedom of foreign journalists to express their views about the situation in Singapore," Reporters Without Borders said. "The government's harassment of the 'Wall Street Journal' indicates a chronic inability to tolerate criticism and is very harmful to the country's image."

The high court decision was reported on the weekend of 14 to 15 March 2009 by the "Straits Times", which quoted court documents as saying the articles "contained passages that scandalise the Singapore judiciary."

The high court already found the "Wall Street Journal" in contempt of court in November 2008 in connection with the same articles, fining it 25,000 Singapore dollars (approx. US$16,250). Attorney general Walter Woon said at the time that the articles questioned the judiciary's independence.

The Singaporean government has in the past obtained damages from Bloomberg, "The Economist" and "The International Herald Tribune".

For further information on the November 2008 ruling against the "Wall Street Journal", see:

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