Written by Staff Writer
27 Apr, 2015 | 7:47 pm
It was stated in Parliament on Monday, April 27 that controversial clauses providing for the arrest of journalists on criminal charges, would be removed from the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.
Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva voiced his appreciation for the decision that was taken by the President.
Over the past several days, News 1st reported on the fact that amendments made to the bill on the 19th Amendment include provisions that allow for the arrest of journalists on criminal charges.
Clause 28 stated that, in the event of an election or a referendum, action can be taken on criminal grounds against private media institutions, in the event of non-compliance with guidelines issued by the Elections Commissioner. The punishment mentioned in the amendment was a prison term of not more than three years and a fine not exceeding Rs.100,000.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that an amendment was brought through clause 28 of the bill on the 19th Amendment which included that punishment on private telecasters, broadcasters and newspapers, in the event of failure to implement decisions of the Elections Commissioner.
Discussions were thus held with private media institutions, the President, Justice Minister, Media Minister and himself regarding the matter and they have thus decided to withdraw the clause.
Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva stated that the initial draft bill that was presented did not contain any provisions on meting out punishment to media institutions. He said that, therefore, they had separately sought the intervention of President Maithirpala Sirisena. He stated that they were thankful to him for withdrawing this provision.
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