Thursday, 1 January 2004  
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Union wants probe into new Press chief's appointment

The Sri Lanka Press Council Employees Union in a memorandum addressed to President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga has requested her to probe as to how a new press commissioner has been appointed to the Sri Lanka Press Council contravening the stipulated procedure when the council itself has been earmarked for closure by the Government and the President herself.

The memorandum signed by Union President R. P. Podiappuhamy alleged that the new commissioner is a totally unqualified and incompetent person and his letter of appointment has been signed by an individual who is no more the ministry secretary. The memorandum further states that according to Sections 22 (1) (2) and (3) of the Press Council Act, the relevant ministry secretary is not empowered to make any appointments to the council.

The specified qualifications for the appointment of a press commissioner are as follows: "In the case of a member of the administrative service with a degree from a recognised university he or she should have either 10 years experience in the senior executive Grade or 15 years experience in the Executive Grade.

"In the case of an officer attached to a corporation or Statutory Board he or she should have a degree plus the above experience.

"In the case of a lawyer, he or she should have five years service experience.

"But the new commissioner has no such qualifications, the memorandum alleged.

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