Singapore Fines The WSJ For Editorials It Considered Contempt Of Court

from the opinions-not-allowed dept

The Wall Street Journal is running a story about how it's been fined by Singaporean courts for two editorials the paper published over the summer. The story notes how nearly every foreign publication distributed in Singapore has been sued in court at one point or another, and the article goes through detailing the specific charges against it by Singapore. Obviously, the WSJ's story can be seen as biased since they were a party in the lawsuit, but from the description, it sounds like Singapore was upset that the WSJ accurately reported on a defamation lawsuit by a former government official against an opposition party candidate, and later a critical study by the International Bar Association on the rule of law in Singapore. It's difficult to see how those reports can be said to be "contemptuous of the judiciary," but in a country that isn't known for taking criticism well, perhaps it's not that surprising.

Still, what's most interesting is that in response to this, the Wall Street Journal has chosen not to publish this particular story about the decision in the Asian edition of the Wall Street Journal -- though, the story is obviously available online. Apparently the WSJ recognizes, probably accurately, that if they published the story about the decision, where they are somewhat critical of that decision, they would probably be in for yet another "contempt" charge. To some extent, this decision makes you wonder how effective suppression of the press can be going forward. Yes, countries can build filters and block out certain publications, but online content can always be filtered through eventually. The very fact that the WSJ is purposely leaving the editorial out of Asian editions of the paper seems more likely to draw more attention to the story from within Singapore as well, accomplishing exactly the opposite of what the country thinks it's doing in fining the paper.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Paul, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 10:32pm

    Ignorning the spam

    Couldent WSJ simply ignore them since the Gov sues all the papers? If people want to read it thay can get it from other sources.

    It sounds like a money grab to me, So of course WSJ is going to be forced to pay up, or just ignore them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 1:52am

    why don't you just do as the romans do when in roman, and follow court orders WSJ? you may not like the orders, or you may not even find them to make any sense. but you are in a foreign land conducting your affairs after all, and as such, you are subject to foreign law. so just shut the hell up, and do as you're told. you'd expect foreigners to follow the american rule of law here, and that expectation is analogous to the expectations of those in singapore. so stop ur bitching WSJ, and just follow orders.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 1:53am

    blah blah blah

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    NearSide, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 5:34am



    I do not understand your anger toward WSJ, unless you have some other axe to grind with them.

    If indeed the Singapore govt is in the business of suppressing their media outlets (and by doing so, their populace), why shouldn't WSJ point it out to the rest of the world?

    Especially if the alternative is for the WSJ to knowingly lie or misrepresent itself?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    wincent, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 9:06pm

    singapore bar

    Hey when you get the opportunity, you should also visit the other singapore tourist attractions . What you have visited might have been good, but there are still a couple more attractions you can visit. The zoo, birdpark etc..

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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