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Singapore sues Dow Jones and two editors


September 12, 2008

Singapore sues Dow Jones and two editors
Singapore's attorney-general is suing the Asia edition of the Wall Street Journal, the publisher and two editors, alleging that two editorials and a letter "impugn the impartiality, integrity and independence" of the city-state's judiciary, an online report carried by Earth Times ( said.

A statement posted on the attorney-general's website on Thursday said that the office was seeking contempt proceedings against Dow Jones Publishing Co (Asia) Inc, which owns and publishes the Asian Wall Street Journal.

Two editorials titled "Democracy in Singapore" and "Judging Singapore's Judiciary" allege that the judiciary in the city-state is not independent, the statement said.

"It is further insinuated that the Singapore judiciary is biased and lacks integrity," the attorney-general's office said. "These allegations and insinuations in these items are unwarranted."

The statement cited a letter by Chee Soon Juan, chief of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party, who has been bankrupted by earlier defamation suits.

The letter to the editor was titled "Produce the Transcript, Show the Truth" and published on July 9.

The editorials examined the lack of democracy in Singapore and included an account of a court exchange in May between Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Chee.

The hearing was held to assess defamation damages that Chee, the party, and Chee's sister were ordered to pay Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the senior Lee, the prime minister's father.
The other editorial focused on the judiciary, following a July report by the International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute alleging executive interference in the judiciary.

The attorney-general named Daniel Hertzberg, international editor of the Asian Wall Street Journal and managing editor Christine Glancey, along with the publisher, as those who will also face
contempt proceedings.

The newspaper said it was reserving comment until receiving official notification.

Prime Minister Lee previously filed a libel suit against the Far Eastern Economic Review.

Singapore has brought legal actions in the past against a spate of foreign news organisations.

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