For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
By T. Farook Thajudeen
Counsel appearing for Lanka e-news, a web news agency, informed the Colombo Chief Magistrate that the CID was trying to get hold of his client’s sources with regard to news item run on their website on November 6, through a court order.
He said that his client had published a news item alleging that Minister Salinda Dissanayake had asked the IGP to transfer the OIC and 16 other Police Officers of Gokaralle Police and the CID was trying to get to the source of the story through court. The counsel stated that the Magistrates Court has no jurisdiction to hear such a case and asked that proceedings be terminated.
Defence counsel stated that the writer, Don Pradeep Sandaruwan Senadeera of Lanka e-news, had admitted that he published the concerned news item and asserted that the contents in the news item were factual and true. He contended that the CID was attempting to abuse the powers of the court and had initiated investigations using a document filed by the CID under Section 124 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) seeking to find out the source of the news item that appeared in the web site.
If the CID thinks that the news item had caused any damage to the national security the CID can file action without seeking the court’s opinion. He said the CID is attempting to violate the constitution and Article 19 of the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights to which Sri Lanka is a signatory
He further submitted that the CID was attempting to make the court a party to their illegal activities in order to prevent the respondent from filing a Fundamental Rights violation application in the appropriate court.
CID Officer Wasala Wijeratne thereafter informed court that he will seek the advice of the Director of the CID and sought a date to make his submissions. Counsel Sarath Perera with Gunaratne Wanninayake and Manjula Pathiraja Priyadharshana Illukpitiya appeared for respondent. Further inquiry postponed for December 17.