- Section 22 of the Bill provides provisions to stop and search any person, vehicle, vessel, train or aircraft, question such person, enter and search any premises or land
By Yohan Perera
The new Anti-Terrorism Bill that has been gazetted and to be presented to the House shortly is likely to bring in certain media restrictions as far as publications to terrorism as defined in it are concerned.
As per Section 11 (1) of the Bill, a person commits an offence if such a person distributes or circulates a terrorist publication, gives, sells or lends a terrorist publication, offers for sale a terrorist publication, provides a service to others that enables them to obtain, read, listen to or look at a terrorist publication or to acquire it by means of a gift or sale; transmits the contents of a terrorist publication electronically; or keeps a terrorist publication in his possession with the intention to commit, prepare or instigate the offence of terrorism and publishes a statement using print media, internet; electronic media; or other form of public notice. However, a statement which glorifies the commission of the offence of terrorism or preparation for the offence of terrorism; and from which the public may reasonably be expected to infer that what is being glorified is a conduct that should be emulated by them in existing circumstances will only become an offence as per the legislation. A person found to be guilty of an offence under this section is subjected to long imprisonment which exceeds ten years.
“The question as to how a statement is likely to be understood and what members of the public could reasonably be expected to infer from it shall be determined when it comes to deciding it to be an offence. The contents of the statement as a whole and the circumstances and the manner of its publication will also be taken into consideration in this regard.
Section 22 of the Bill provides provisions to stop and search any person, vehicle, vessel, train or aircraft, question such person, enter and search any premises or land. The armed forces, Police or a coast guard are given power to stop, search a person, vehicle, vessel and aircraft, enter and search any premises or land.
- It is likely to bring in certain media restrictions as far as publications to terrorism as defined in it are concerned