Singapore PM Wins More Defamation Case Against Bloggers

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Singapore’s high court ordered two bloggers to pay Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong a fine in damages on Wednesday, over an article on corruption.


The "citizen journalists" have to pay a combined US$ 155,994 over an article about the home of his late father and the city-state’s modern-day founder, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew.

The premier sued a writer Mr. Rubaashini Shunmuganathan and an editor Mr. Xu Yuan Chen, also known as Terry Xu, over an August 2019 article on The Online Citizen (TOC) that included references to a Lee family disagreement about what to do with the property.

Judge Audrey Lim said the article “impugned Mr. Lee’s reputation and character” by alleging he was dishonest.

It struck at the heart of Lee’s personal integrity and could severely undermine his credibility, not just personally but also as the prime minister, and call into question his fitness to govern with integrity, Ms. Lim said in a written judgement.


Failed Bloggers Want Their Audience To Help Pay The Fine

Mr. Xu, a Singaporean, and Malaysian Mr. Rubaashini were ordered to pay Mr. Lee S$210,000 and S$160,000 respectively. The judge, however, asked them to jointly pay S$160,000 in damages, as the lawsuits concerned the same defamatory article.

Mr. Rubaashini did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Mr. Xu on his social media said he was disappointed with the judgement and was assessing next steps he could take, such as an appeal.

Mr. Xu has also set up crowdfunding for the case, a move taken separately in April by an activist.


 


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