SRI LANKA PRESS COUNCIL LAW

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

PART I

The Sri Lanka Press Council

2. Constitution of Sri Lanka Press Council.

3. Members of the Council.

4. Term of office of members of the Council, other than the Director.

5. Remuneration of members of the Council, other than the Director.

6. Quorum for meetings of the Council and the procedure to be followed at such meetings.

7. The Council may act despite a vacancy.

8. Objects of the Council.

9. Action by the Council against newspaper, editor.

10. General Powers of the Council.

11. Powers of the Council in respect of inquiries under this Law.

12. Offences under the Law in connection with inquiries held by the Council.

13. Offences by bodies of persons.

14. Persons liable in case of offences committed through the means of a newspaper.

15. Certain criminal publications.

16. Publication of certain matters relating to cabinet decisions.

17. Appearance before the Council.

18. Fines to be credited to the Consolidated Fund.

PART II

Finance

19. The Fund of the Council.

20. Application of the provisions of the Public Corporations (Financial Control) Act.

21. Financial year of the Council.

PART III

General

22. Appointment of Press Commissioner.

23. Appointment of staff.

24. Compliance with directions.

25. Regulations regarding registration and registration fees.

26. Duties of printer and publisher of newspaper.

27. Protection of members, officers and servants of the Council for action taken under this Law.

28. Officers and servants of the Council deemed to be public servants.

29. The Council deemed to be a scheduled institution within the meaning of the Bribery Act.

30. Rules and regulations.

31. Offences under the Law.

32. Disclosure of sources of information.

33. Interpretation.

34. This Law to prevail over other written Law.

5 of 1973,

13 of 2002,

162-5-1981,

1232-14-2002.

[Date of Commencement: 30th March, 1973]

1. Short title.

This Law may be cited as the Sri Lanka Press Council Law.

PART I

The Sri Lanka Press Council

2. Constitution of Sri Lanka Press Council.

(1) There shall be a Council which shall be called the Sri Lanka Press Council (in this Law referred to as "the Council”) consisting of the persons who are for the time being members thereof under this Law.

(2) The Council shall, by the name assigned to it by subsection (1), be a body corporate and shall have perpetual succession and a common seal and may sue and be sued in such name.

(3) The Council may, for the purpose of functioning as a body corporate under this Law—

(a) acquire, hold, take or give on lease or hire, mortgage, pledge and sell or otherwise dispose of, any immovable or movable property; and

(b) enter into and perform or carry out, whether directly or through any officer or agent authorised in that behalf by the Council, all such contracts or agreements as may be necessary in the exercise of the powers of the Council.

3. Members of the Council.

(1) The Council shall consist of—

(a) the person for the time being holding office as the Director of Information (in this Law referred to as "the Director”); and

(b) six other members appointed by the President, of whom—

(i) one shall be a person to represent the working journalists, such person being selected from a panel of not more than seven persons nominated by the Journalists' Associations in Sri Lanka, and

(ii) one shall be a person to represent the interests of the employees of newspaper businesses, such person being selected from panels of not more than three persons nominated by each registered trade union of such employees.

(2) One of the members appointed by the President shall be designated Chairman of the Council.

(3) No person who is or becomes a Member of Parliament shall be eligible for appointment, or to continue in office, as a member of the Council.

4. Term of office of members of the Council, other than the Director.

(1) Every member of the Council, other than the Director, shall, subject to the provisions of subsection (2), hold office for a period of three years, and shall accordingly vacate his office at the end of that period.

(2) A member of the Council, other than the Director, shall vacate his office as such member, otherwise than by effluxion of time—

(a) upon his death; or

(b) if he resigns such office by writing under his hand addressed to the President; or

(c) if he is removed from office by the President; or

(d) if he is adjudged by a competent court to be insolvent or bankrupt or of unsound mind.

(3) A member of the Council shall not be removed from office unless the President is satisfied—

(a) that such member has become subject to the disqualification set out in subsection (3) of section 3; or

(b) that such member has become permanently incapable of performing his functions as a member; or

(c) that such member has done or committed any act, matter or thing which in the opinion of the President is of a fraudulent or an illegal character, or which is likely to prejudice or damage the interests of the Council.

(4) A member of the Council who is appointed in place of a member, who vacates his office, otherwise than by effluxion of time, shall hold office for the unexpired period of the term of office of the member whom he has succeeded.

(5) Where a member of the Council, other than the Director, becomes by reason of illness or other infirmity or absence from Sri Lanka, temporarily unable to perform the duties of his office, the President may appoint a person to act in his place in accordance with the preceding provisions of this Law.

(6) A member of the Council who vacates his office by effluxion of time shall be eligible for reappointment

5. Remuneration of members of the Council, other than the Director.

The members of the Council, other than the Director, shall be paid remuneration for attendance at meetings of the Council at such rates as may be determined by the Minister with the concurrence of the Minister in charge of the subject of Finance.

6. Quorum for meetings of the Council and the procedure to be followed at such meetings.

(1) The quorum for any meeting of the Council shall be five.

(2) Subject to the other provisions of this Law, the Council may regulate the procedure in regard to the meetings of the Council and the transaction of business at such meetings.

7. The Council may act despite a vacancy.

The Council may act notwithstanding a vacancy amongst the members thereof.

8. Objects of the Council.

Subject to the provisions of this Law, the objects of the Council shall be—

(1) To ensure the freedom of the press in Sri Lanka, to prevent abuses of that freedom, and to safeguard the character of the Sri Lanka press in accordance with the highest professional standards.

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