Ai Takagi, the former editor of The Real Singapore (TRS), has been handed a 10-month jail term for publishing seditious articles on her website.

The 23-year-old had been charged with attempt to create ill will and racial hostility among Singaporeans.

The Australian, who is married to a Singaporean, pleaded guilty to four of the seven counts of sedition charge against her. Her husband Yang Kaiheng, who was also involved in running the website, has asked for a trial to prove his innocence.

Yang's trial will start on Monday.

Takagi, who is of Japanese descent, is eight weeks pregnant. Before the sentencing she apologized to the people of Singapore, adding that she was not fully aware of the nuances required in reporting religious and racial matters.

"I now know that the harmony which Singapore enjoys today requires careful and continuous efforts on the part of everyone, citizens and visitors alike, to maintain,'' she said, according to the Straits Times.

The journalist will start her sentence on April 22.

The prosecution said Takagi published seditious content with the motive of attracting higher readership numbers for her website and thus profit from it.

TRS published "patently false information was represented as being the truth" the prosecutors said in court last week. They said the website "even resorted to outright and blatant fabrication in order to attract internet users to their website - all with the objective of increasing their advertising revenue", Channel News Asia repotted.

Takagi, who came to Singapore from Brisbane, Australia, was in charge of the content on the TRS site. The site's editorial strategy hinged on letting Singaporeans post their daily experiences and complaints anonymously. Takagi also commissioned articles for the site and researched interesting news stories for publication.

Profit motive

Prosecution said the owners of the site earned A$473,000 in advertising revenue over a year and a half.

The Real Singapore is now defunct. Takagi's husband Yang has denied the charges against him and claimed a trial.

Prosecution said one of the inflammatory articles she published was a story in which she allegedly wrote that a Filipino family had created a ruckus during the Thaipusam festival.

The seditious articles in question were published between October 2013 and February 2015.

The prosecution said the website got more than 134 million page views between May 2014 to March last year, which was double that of the preceding year, according to the Straits Times.

Takagi and Yang were arrested in February 2015. The charges leveled against the couple attract a maximum punishment of $5,000 fine and three years' jail term.