by Press? PCC opens doors to public
The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) of Sri Lanka will inaugurate
the work of its dispute resolution Council next Wednesday. The Council
will receive, inquire into and make findings on complaints from
the public on any matter published in the press from this date onwards,
a press release from the PCC said.
will also inquire into any breaches of the Code of Practice of the
Editors Guild of Sri Lanka, which has been adopted by the PCC. The
code is geared towards providing a balance between press freedom
and social responsibility as proclaimed in the Colombo Declaration
of 1998, to which the Newspaper Society, the Editors Guild and the
Free Media Movement (FMM) were joint signatories.
The code also
covers accurate reporting, corrections and apologies, the right
of reply, protection of confidential sources, general reporting
and writing, privacy, harassment and subterfuge and journalistic
All valid complaints
will be inquired into by the Council of the PCC either by way of
conciliation, mediation or arbitration under the Arbitration Act
No. 11 of 1995. Eleven (11) eminent personalities representing civil
society and the press will form the Council, which will be an autonomous
body within the PCC. A majority of the membership of this Council
will be Non-press representatives.
will be Chaired by Sam Wijesinha, former Secretary-General of Parliament.
The other members of the Council are Devanesan Nesiah, former Government
Agent, Jaffna and of the Public Service Commission, Javid Yusuf,
former Principal Zahira College and former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia,
Swarna Jayaweera, former lecturer at the University of Colombo,
Dharmasiri Bandaranayake, Film Director and Lucille Wijewardene,
Chartered Accountant; Siri Ranasinghe, Editor of the Lankadeepa
and President of the Editors Guild, G.S. Perera, former Editor of
the Dinamina and member of the Press Council, P. Balasingham, Deputy
Editor of the Daily News, Dion Schoorman, former Senior Representative
of Reuters (Sri Lanka) Ltd., and Mallika Wanigasundera, Free-Lance
will be housed at the ICLP Arbitration Centre at No. 61, Carmel
Road, Colombo 3, with a full-time staff headed by the Chief Executive
Officer Manique Mendis, a senior media and Public Relations personality.
S. Dammulla, the former Press Commissioner and Secretary of the
Press Council, has also joined the PCC.
The Council of the PCC is committed to provide a speedy and cost
effective resolution of complaints against the press by the public.
Services are provided for a nominal charge to only offset administrative
A copy of the
Code of Practice and a booklet on How to Complain and a simple Guide
to the inquiry procedures will be available in all three languages
at the PCC office to assist members of the public. The Press Complaints
Commission is a self-regulatory mechanism and is incorporated under
the Companies Act of Sri Lanka.
Its subscribers are the Newspaper Society of Sri Lanka, the Editors
Guild of Sri Lanka and the Free Media Movement.