NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) _ The Newport Daily News is fighting a lawsuit by a woman who wants to keep the paper from publishing her name once her divorce is final.

A lawyer for the woman, identified only as Jane Doe, said she is not a public figure and that a divorce notice would violate her right to privacy.

''Unfortunately, divorce carries with it, albeit for personal or religious reasons, a social stigma,'' said Thomas W. Kelly. ''She fears that the mere publication of her name intrudes on her life, her husband's life and her future.''

The suit, filed Tuesday, is designed to force the news media ''to scrutinize the information and to prevent them from publishing information about marital breakdowns unless there is a reasonable element of newsworthiness. ''

The Daily News for years has published monthly the names and addresses of people for whom final divorce decrees were entered in Newport County Family Court.

Editor David B. Offer said in a statement Wednesday that publishing information about divorces, ''which are on the public record for all to see, is a normal and important practice for newspapers all over the country.'

''For very good reasons, the right to provide this information to readers is protected by the First Amendment,'' he said.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that newspapers cannot be barred from publishing truthful information from open court records. But Kelly said the court signaled its willingness to allow exceptions with a ruling last June.

In that case, the court said a rape victim could not recover damages against a paper that published her name in violation of a Florida ''rape shield'' law.

But Kelly said the court also stated that ''case-by-case analysis of press- privacy conflicts by the court is appropriate.''