National newspaper Editors resolved 243 complaints made directly to them by aggrieved readers in 2018 and 31 complaints with the involvement of the Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka (PCCSL). During the year under review, the PCCSL received 79 complaints from the public, of which 19 were outside its scope.
The complaints resolved by the Editors come under Clause 04: ‘Opportunity to Reply’ (‘Right of Reply’) procedure laid down by The Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka in their Code of Professional Practice (Editors’ Code).
The Code, which is implemented by the PCCSL now provides for conditional third party complaints.
The annual report of the PCCSL for 2018 which was released on 4 September states that the PCCSL conducted 14 meetings with 118 publishers, editors and journalists. 14 awareness meetings were held with 50 members of civil society. They also had six awareness meetings with 253 youths who represented various youth groups in the island. These meetings were held in Colombo, Akmeemana, Negombo, Ulapane, Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Kandy, Anuradhapura and Galle areas.
The PCCSL, which is an independent, voluntary, self-regulatory body will celebrate its 16th anniversary on 15 October. The PCCSL is supported by the Newspaper Society of Sri Lanka (NSSL), The Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka (TEGOSL), the Free Media Movement (FMM) and the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA) and is affiliated with the Federation of Media Employees Trade Union, the Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum, the Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance and the South Asian Free Media Association – Sri Lanka Chapter.
The PCCSL works on the principles of Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration through its Secretariat and the Dispute Resolution Council (DRC). The DRC is made up of six non-journalist, including the chairman and five journalists.
It is headed by Parliament former Secretary General Attorney Nihal Seneviratne. The other non-journalist members are: Dr. Devanesan Nesiah, Javid Yusuf, Dion Schoorman, Lucille Wijewardene and Gnana Moonesinghe. The journalist members are: Siri Ranasinghe, P. Balasingham, Daya Lankapura, Pramod de Silva and Rajitha Weerakoon.
The nine-member Board of Directors comprise: Chairman and SLPI nominee Kumar Nadesan, Deputy Chairman and The Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka nominee Sinha Ratnatunga, Newspaper Society of Sri Lanka nominee Nimal Welgama, Free Media Movement nominee Jagath Liyanarachchi, SLPI nominee Manik de Silva, Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association nominee Frank de Zoysa. Siri Ranasinghe, M.N. Ameen and Mohanlal Piyadasa were re-elected by the general membership of the PCCSL.
The PCCSL Secretariat is headed by CEO Sukumar Rockwood and includes Complaint’s Officer Kamal Liyanaarachchi.