Media and Law <br />Based on lecture by Ms Thiwankee Wickramasinghe, March 2010-03-31<br />Three branches of government ar...
Media law by thiwanki wickeremsinghe
Media law by thiwanki wickeremsinghe
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Media law by thiwanki wickeremsinghe


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A presentation of 2010 made by Thiwanki Wickremesinghe at the SLCJ auditorium

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Media law by thiwanki wickeremsinghe

  1. 1. Media and Law <br />Based on lecture by Ms Thiwankee Wickramasinghe, March 2010-03-31<br />Three branches of government are <br />Executive<br />Legislature <br />Judiciary<br />Media – the fourth estate <br />The 3 branches are inter-connected in the form of a Venn diagram inside a frame with media outside but inside the frame<br />Law Vs Ethics<br />LAWETHICSHas binding authorityVoluntary (codes of conduct based on professional groups)Punishment mandatory, defined and can be implementedPunishment less prompt (no teeth)Developed by legislature/ gvtDeveloped by private parties/ profession al groups<br />Different sections in the Constitution are called ‘Articles’. <br />Different sections in laws are called ‘sections’<br />Sri Lankan law is divided in to Civil and Criminal law<br />Civil action is between 2 or more private parties (property disputes, divorce etc..)<br />Criminal action is brought by the State (rape, murder, theft etc..)<br />Courts of Law of Sri Lanka<br />SUPREME COURT OF SRI LANKA<br />Highest and final superior court. Has jurisdiction on      Constitutional matters        protection of fundamental rights        Final appellate jurisdiction     Election of President, validity of a referendum ;  breach of the privileges of Parliament     etc..      <br />COURT OF APPEAL <br />HIGH COURT OF SRI LANKA <br />DISTRICT COURTS<br />The territorial limits set by the Minister of Justice and the Chief Justice and the President of the Court of Appeal. There are  54 judicial districts in Sri Lanka.  <br />MAGISTRATE’S COURTS<br />The territorial limits set the Minister of Justice and Chief Justice and the President of the Court of Appeal. There are 74 judicial divisions in Sri Lanka. <br />PRIMARY COURTS<br />There are 7 Primary Courts In the other divisions, the Magistrate’s Courts exercise the jurisdiction of the Primary Courts. <br />Constitution<br />Sri Lanka’s first republican constitution 1972<br />Current republican constitution 1978<br />1946 Constitution is called the Soulbury Constitution but primary architect was Sir Ivor Jennings<br />One argument for Executive Presidency was to ensure political and economic stability and policy continuation. Governments in Sri Lanka since 1948 to 1978 were all coalition governments resulting in instability. The Executive Presidency, with extensive powers was expected to provide a strong stable leadership even when the government (Parliament) was in transition or unstable.<br />CHAPTER III - FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS<br />Articles 10 – 14 of Sri Lanka’s Constitution spell out the fundamental rights of Sri Lankan citizens<br />Article 10: Freedom of thought, conscience and religion<br />Article 11: Freedom from torture.<br />Article 12: Right to equality.<br />Article 13: Freedom from arbitrary arrest, detention and punishment, and prohibition of retroactive penal legislation. <br />Article 14: Freedom of Speech, assembly, association, movement, &c <br />Every citizen is entitled to -<br />the freedom of speech and expression including publication; (is guaranteed for <br />the freedom of peaceful assembly; <br />Article17: Remedy for the infringement of fundamental rights by executive action. <br /> <br />Restrictions to fundamental rights including freedom of expression<br />Restrictions are listed in <br />CHAPTER III under Article 15 (1) – (7)<br />Fundamental rights are restricted when<br />15 (1) in the interests of national security<br />15 (2)interests of racial and religious harmony or in relation to parliamentary privilege, contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence<br />15 (3)interests of racial and religious harmony<br />15 (4) interests, of racial and religious harmony or national economy<br />15 (a) the professional, technical, academic, financial and other qualifications necessary for practising any profession or carrying on any occupation, trade, business or enterprise, and the licensing and disciplinary control of the person entitled to such fundamental right, and<br />15 (b) the carrying on by the State, a State agency or a public corporation of any trade, business,, industry, service or enterprise whether to the exclusion, complete or partial, of citizens or otherwise.<br />CHAPTER XVIII - PUBLIC SECURITY make emergency regulations<br />Media related laws<br />Press Council Act 1973 <br />Lapsed in 2002<br />Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka set up in October 2003<br />Press Council reactivated on June 1, 2009<br />Public Security Ordinance<br />Emergency Regulations <br />Contempt of court: Criticise court ruling<br />S B DIssanayake comment on ‘Balu theenduwa’ report <br />Gunadasa Liyanage comments on oil drilling<br />( Dharmasri Senanayake defamatory statement) <br />Sub judice :Cannot report on an on-going court case<br />Official Secrets Act<br />Parliamentary Privileges<br />Can report what is said in Parliament ? (What goes into Hansard report) but cant question it <br />Gives privileges, immunities and powers to MPs<br />For freedom of speech in Parliament<br />Punish breaches of the privileges of Parliament. Parliamentarians can raise a matter of privilege if their rights violated. Have to give priority to it <br />Prevention of terrorism Act<br />Defamation (civil)<br />Defamation is a public communication that tends to injure the reputation of another. <br />Written defamation is called libel. Verbal defamation is called slander<br />The Defamation laws in Sri Lanka have only been used by the VIPs and not ordinary people.<br />Press Council Amendment Act No 13 of 2002 repealed Section 15 (1)(b) of the Press Council Law, taking away the power to penalise individuals for criminal defamation.<br />Repealed criminal defamation law from Penal Code in 2002<br />Requirements for defamation action<br />Other people must be able to directly or indirectly identify the person concerned<br />Must be able to prove damages to reputation <br />Malicious intent<br />Must be conveyed to third party (if no one else heard, then not count as defamatory) <br />Avoiding defamation<br />Writing something in the public interest <br />