Professor and paper charged with contempt over critical article
SINGAPORE — The government charged both an American professor and a newspaper with contempt of court in mid-November for publishing an October article critical of Asian governments.
Contempt charges were filed against Christopher Lingle, former professor at the National University of Singapore, Publisher Richard McClean and Singapore-based Editor Michael Richardson of the International-Herald Tribune (Singapore) Private Ltd., and the Singapore distributors and printers of the Tribune on Nov. 11, according to the Wall Street Journal.
If convicted on contempt charges, Lingle could be fined or imprisoned and the newspaper could be fined or forced to reduce its circulation in Singapore, according to the AP.
Lingle’s article, written in response to an article praising Asian governments, referred to unnamed states as “intolerant regimes” with “compliant judiciaries.” A Singapore court rule forbids any criticism of the city-state’s judicial system.
Lingle left Singapore for his native Atlanta, Ga. soon after being interrogated in his Singapore office for 90 minutes in October by police. When he was informed of the contempt charges, he told The Wall Street Journal he will not decide whether he will return to Singapore until he receives official notice of the charges.
The U.S. state department has criticized Singapore for threatening Lingle’s right to freedom of expression.
A hearing is scheduled Dec. 2.