May 21, Colombo: The Chairman of Sri Lanka Press Council W. Dayarathna pointed out that the Press Council had never sentenced or fined any journalist as some media had stated.
Addressing media yesterday at the Press Council office in Colombo, he said that the Press Council is a body that mediates to resolve issues pertaining to press freedom and declined reports that the government had re-established the Press Council as a measure to repress journalists.
Press Council established under Sri Lanka Press Council Act No. 5 of 1973 was suspended in 2002 as it was expected to be substituted by the Sri Lanka Press Complaint Commission. The latter is a self-governed mediation board of the press.
However, the government has decided to reactivate the Press Council with curbed powers the government officials say. Under the 1973 Act No. 5, the Press Council has powers to fine and/or sentence journalists and publishers to terms of imprisonment.