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LAWS OF BRUNEI
11 of 1958
1984 Ed. Cap. 105
REVISED EDITION 2002
(15th July 2002)
LAWS OF BRUNEI
REVISED EDITION 2002
ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
3A. No newspaper to be published without permit.
3B. Permit required for sale and distribution in Brunei Darussalam ofoverseas newspaper.
3C. Local newspaper company.
3D. Funds from foreign source for the purpose of a newspaper otherthan commercial purposes prohibited.
4. Suspension of publication.
5. Repealed .
7. Publication of false news.
8. Unlawful to furnish incorrect particulars.
9. Certified extract from newspaper register to be admissible in evidence.
10. Search, seizure and forfeiture.
11. Vicarious responsibility of proprietor, printer, publisher andeditor.
12. Service of process.
13. Copies of newspapers to be delivered.
14. Cessation of publication etc.
FIRST SCHEDULE — PERMIT FEES SECONDSCHEDULE — AMOUNT OF DEPOSIT
An Act to regulate the printing, publishing, production and reproduction of newspapers in Brunei Darussalam including mattersrelating to the collection and publication of news and the distribution ofnewspapers
Commencement: 1st January 1959
1. This Act may be cited as the Newspapers Act.
2. In this Act —
“local magazine” means a magazine printed in Brunei
“local newspaper” means a newspaper printed in Brunei
Darussalam and includes a local magazine;
“Minister” means the Minister of Home Affairs;
“newspaper” means any publication containing news,intelligence, reports of occurrences, or any remarks, observations or comments, in relation to such news, intelligence or occurrences,or to any other matter of public interest or any magazine, comic or other formof periodical, printed for sale or free distribution at regular or irregularintervals and includes a supplement thereto but does not include any publicationissued by or under the authority of the Government or of any public body;
“overseas newspaper” means a newspaper other than a localnewspaper;
“Registrar” means such officer as may be appointed by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan to act as Registrar of Newspapers,and includes any person appointed by His Majesty to act as Deputy Registrar ofNewspapers.
Permit. [S 54/01]
3. (1) Upon receiving an application to obtain a permit under thisAct and on payment of the fee prescribed in the First Schedule and of anydeposit of the amount prescribed in the Second Schedule, the Minister may granta permit subject to such conditions as he may determine, which shall be endorsedthereon.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), theMinister may, in determining the conditions of the permit, specify that themaximum number of copies for each issue of the newspaper which may be printed, published, sold or distributed in Brunei Darussalam shall be determinedby him.
(3) Every such permit, unless sooner revoked or supended, shall be validfor one year from the date of its issue, and may be renewed for further periodsnot exceeding 12 months in respect of each renewal.
(4) The Minister may, after giving the applicant or permit holder, as thecase may be, an opportunity to be heard, at any time and on any grounds andwithout assigning a reason therefor, refuse to grant or revoke, or may suspendfor such period as he thinks fit, a permit to any local newspaper or anyoverseas newspaper.
(5) Any decision of the Minister to refuse to grant, revoke orsuspend the permit shall be final and shall not be called in question by anycourt on any ground whatsoever.
(6) Notice of the grant, refusal to grant, revocation or suspension of apermit under this section shall be published in the Gazette .
(7) The deposit under subsection (1) shall be available to pay any finewhich may be imposed upon the proprietor, printer, publisher or editor of thenewspaper in question, either under this Act or in respect of any matterappearing in the newspaper, and shall also be available to pay any damages
that may be awarded in any action for libel in respect of any matterappearing in the newspaper and the costs of any such action.
(8) The Registrar may direct that the whole of such deposit or such part asmay be necessary shall be paid out in respect of such fine, damages or costs andthat the deposit shall be maintained to the amount prescribed in the SecondSchedule.
(9) The proprietor, printer, publisher or editor may, at any time, givenotice to the Registrar that he does not desire to renew the permit and theRegistrar may, after the expiry of the permit, direct that the sum deposited inrespect of the newspaper, or so much of such sum as remains deposited, shall bepaid to the person entitled to receive the same.
No newspaper to be published without permit. [S 54/01]
3A. (1) Subject to subsection (2), no person shall print, publish orassist in the printing or publishing of any newspaper in Brunei Darussalamunless the proprietor, printer, publisher or editor of the newspaper haspreviously obtained a permit granted by the Minister authorising the publicationthereof.
(2) No permit shall be granted to the proprietor, printer, publisher oreditor of any newspaper whose publication would constitute an offence undersection 3C.
(3) Any person who contravenes this section or fails to comply with anycondition imposed under subsection (1) of section 3 is guilty of an offence andliable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $40,000, imprisonment for aterm not exceeding 3 years or both.
Permit required for sale and distribution in Brunei Darussalam ofoverseas newspaper. [S 54/01]
3B. (1) No overseas newspaper shall be published, sold, offered forsale or printed for distribution in Brunei Darussalam unless the proprietor ofthe newspaper or his agent has previously obtained a permit granted by theMinister authorising the publication, sale or distribution of the newspaper inBrunei Darussalam.
(2) Every such permit shall have effect in respect of the proprietor towhom it was granted or his agent.
(3) The Minister may impose as conditions of the grant of a permit that theproprietor shall establish and maintain a place of business within
Brunei Darussalam, that he shall appoint persons within Brunei Darussalamauthorised to accept service of any notice or legal process on his behalf and onbehalf of the printer, publisher or editor and that he shall furnish theRegistrar with the names and addresses of the persons so appointed.
(4) Any person who contravenes this section or fails to comply with anycondition imposed under subsection (1) of section 3 is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $4,000,imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or both.
Local newspaper company. [S 54/01]
3C. (1) No local newspaper shall be printed or published in Brunei Darussalam except by a company formed and registered under theCompanies Act (Chapter 39).
(2) In every such company, the directors shall constitute citizens ofBrunei Darussalam or persons to whom a Residence Permit has been granted underregulations made under the Immigration Act (Chapter 17) or both.
(3) No printer, publisher, editor, editor-in-chief or journalist, not being a citizen of Brunei Darussalam or a person to whom a Residence Permithas been granted under regulations made under the Immigration Act
(Chapter 17), shall be connected in any such capacity with any such company unless he has previously obtained approval from the Office of thePrime Minister.
(4) Any person who contravenes this section is guilty of an offence andliable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $40,000, imprisonment for a termnot exceeding 3 years or both.
Funds from foreign source for the purposes of a newspaper other thancommercial purposes prohibited. [S 54/01]
3D. (1) Subject to this section, no person shall, on or after thegrant or renewal of a permit under section 3, receive on behalf or for thepurposes of any newspaper any funds from a foreign source without the priorapproval of the Minister.
(2) The Minister may grant such approval if he is satisfied, on suchinformation as he may require to be furnished to him, that the funds from aforeign source are intended for bona fide commercial purposes.
(3) Notwithstanding subsection (1), where any funds from a foreign source are sent to any person without his prior knowledge, consent orsolicitation and the funds are intended for or given by the donor for thepurposes of the newspaper, that person shall, within 3 days of the receiptthereof, report the circumstances and particulars of the receipt of the fundsand the purposes for which the funds were received to the Minister.
(4) Where funds from a foreign source have been received by any person forthe purposes of the newspaper under subsection (3) and the Minister refuses hisapproval for the retention of those funds, that person shall, within such timeas is specified by the Minister, return them to the sender thereof or, if thesender cannot be traced, the funds shall be donated to any charity specified bythe Minister.
(5) Any person who contravenes or fails to comply with subsection
(1), (3) or (4) is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a finenot exceeding $40,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or both andthe Court may, in addition to any other penalty that it may impose, order theforfeiture to the Government of any funds which are the subject of thecharge.
(6) (a) Any journalist who, having received any funds from aforeign source for printing or publishing any news item or article or foradopting a particular line or bias in respect of any news item or article, fails to report in writing within 7 days to the managing director ofhis newspaper company the receipt of those funds is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding
$40,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or both.
(b) Any funds received from outside Brunei Darussalam by a journalistshall be presumed to be from a foreign source unless proved to the contrary.
(7) Nothing in this section shall apply to any dealing by any person in theshares of a newspaper company quoted on a stock exchange in BruneiDarussalam.
(8) For the purposes of this section —
“foreign source” includes —
(a) the government of a country outside Brunei Darussalam or theagent of any such government, whether resident in Brunei Darussalam orotherwise;
(b) any company, association or society incorporated or constituted under any law in force outside Brunei Darussalam whether or not it has abranch office or place of business in Brunei Darussalam;
(c) any person who is not a citizen of Brunei Darussalam whether or not he is resident in Brunei Darussalam; or
(d) such other source outside Brunei Darussalam as the Minsiter may,by notification in the Gazette , declare to be a foreign source for thepurposes of this section;
“funds” means money, securities, movable or immovableproperty or other valuable consideration.
Suspension of publication. [S 54/01]
4. (1) A magistrate may, upon the application of the PublicProsecutor, order the suspension of the publication of any local newspaper andany overseas newspaper for a period not exceeding 6 months if —
(a) the newspaper concerned has published any mattercalculated or tending to persuade or induce any person or persons whetherindividually or as members of the general public or as a class or sectionthereof —
(i) to commit an offence; or
(ii) to become a member of, contribute to the support of, recruit for, proselytize on behalf of or otherwise support any unlawful society withinthe meaning of the Societies Act (Chapter 66);
(b) the printer, publisher, or editor has been convicted ofcommitting, in respect of anything published in that newspaper —
(i) any offence punishable under Chapter VI of the Penal
Code (Chapter 22);
(ii) any offence against section 4 of the Sedition Act
(iii) any offence against section 4 of the Undesirable
Publications Act (Chapter 25);
(iv) any offence of a nature prejudicial to the security of
Brunei Darussalam; or
(v) any offence of a nature prejudicial to the maintenance within BruneiDarussalam of peace or public order.
(2) A magistrate may, upon the application of the Public Prosecutor, orderthat pending the determination of any proceedings against the printer,publisher, or editor of a newspaper for any offence mentioned or referred to insubsection (1) —
(a) the publication of that newspaper shall be suspended; or
(b) that newspaper shall not publish any matter relating to suchtopics as may be specified in the order, being topics in respect of or inconnection with which the offence for which proceedings are pending is allegedto have been committed or being similar or related topics.
(3) It shall be an offence —
(a) to contravene an order made under subsection (2);
(b) to print, sell or offer for sale or distribute any newspaper thepublication of which, or any publication of matter in which,constitutes an offence by virtue of this subsection;
(c) during the validity of any such order to remove from the premises whereon the same may be anything which the Commissioner of Policeis directed by subsection (4) to seize upon an order suspending theregistration:
Penalty, a fine of not exceeding $40,000, imprisonment for a term notexceeding 3 years or both.
(4) When an order is made under subsection (1) the Commissioner of Police,or any police officer authorised by him in writing under his hand, shall seizeand detain all the machinery, type, appliances, paper, printing materials,writing materials, books, documents, writings, effects and things used toproduce the newspaper the registration of which has been suspended.
(5) The Commissioner of Police, or any police officer authorised by him inwriting under his hand, may remove anything which he is directed by subsection(4) to seize to such place or places within Brunei Darussalam as he may see fitand there to keep the same so long as such order subsists.
(6) No order under this section shall be made unless the proprietor oreditor of the local newspaper in relation to which an application is made hasbeen given an opportunity to show cause against the making of the order.
5. Repealed .
6. Repealed .
Publication of false news. [S 54/01]
7. (1) Where in any publication there is maliciously published anyfalse news, the printer, publisher, editor and the writer thereof is guilty ofan offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $40,000,imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or both.
(2) For the purposes of this section, malice shall be presumed in defaultof evidence showing that, prior to publication, the accused took reasonablemeasures to verify the truth of the news.
(3) No prosecution for an offence under this section shall be initiatedwithout the consent in writing of the Public Prosecutor.
Unlawful to furnish incorrect particulars.
8. (1) Any person who certifies the correctness of any particular furnished pursuant to any requirement made under this Act shall, ifsuch particular is incorrect, be guilty of an offence: Penalty, a fine notexceeding
$40,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or both.
(2) It shall be a defence to a charge under subsection (1) to prove—
(a) that the person charged believed the particular to be correct;
(b) that he could not with the exercise of reasonable diligence havediscovered its incorrectness.
Certified extract from newspaper register to be admissible inevidence.
9. In any proceedings whatsoever against the proprietor, printer, publisher or editor of any local newspaper or any overseas newspaper,it shall be lawful for the complainant or plaintiff to tender in evidence anyentry in or certified extract from any local newspaper register, either—
(a) as proof of the truth of the matters stated in such entry orextract; or
(b) as proof that the particulars appearing in such entry orextract were furnished and certified by the informant by whom they purport tohave been furnished and certified.
Search, seizure and forfeiture.
10. (1) It shall be lawful for any magistrate to grant a warrant toany police officer to enter any place or board any vessel or aircraft in or onboard which any contravention of this Act or of any regulations made hereundermay appear to have been committed, and to search such place or vessel oraircraft.
(2) Every such warrant shall have the effect of empowering allpolice officers to enter such place or board such vessel or aircraft and tosearch the same and to seize anything with respect to which anycontravention of this Act or of regulations made hereunder may appear to havebeen committed or which may appear to be or to contain evidence of any suchcontravention.
(3) It shall be lawful for a magistrate, upon such notice, if any, as hemay think fit, to order to be forfeited anything with respect to which anoffence against this Act or against any regulations made hereunder has beencommitted.
(4) Anything so forfeited shall be disposed of in such manner as the
Commissioner of Police may direct.
(5) It shall be lawful for the Registrar and any person appointed by theRegistrar in writing under his hand at all reasonable times to enter upon
any premises from which newspapers are distributed or sold and to inspect andperuse and take away a copy of any newspaper found upon suchpremises.
(6) Any police officer who is lawfully upon any premises or place whetherin pursuance of any warrant or otherwise howsoever may seize remove and detainanything with respect to which any offence against this Act or against anyregulations made hereunder may appear to have been committed or which may appearto be or contain evidence of the commission of any such offence.
Vicarious responsibility of proprietor, printer, publisher andeditor.
11. On the trial of the proprietor, printer, publisher or editor, ofany local newspaper or any overseas newspaper, for any offence in whichan ingredient is the publication of matter contained in any issue of such newspaper the accused person shall be presumed to have published all mattercontained in such issue, as the case may be, unless he proves that the publication was made without his authority, consent or knowledge, and thatthe publication did not arise from want of due care or caution on his part.
Service of process.
12. Without prejudice to any other method of service, any process whatsoever, civil or criminal, addressed to the proprietor, printer,publisher or editor of any local newspaper or any overseas newspaper shall, forall purposes, be deemed to be duly served if left with some adult at, or sent byregistered post to, the registered address of the office of the newspaper.
Copies of newspapers to be delivered. [S 54/01]
13. (1) The publisher of every local newspaper shall, as soon as reasonably possible after any edition or varied impression of suchnewspaper is published, cause to be delivered to the Registrar, Director ofInformation, or such other officer as may be authorised in that behalf by theMinister, 3 copies thereof.
(2) A publisher who fails to comply with subsection (1) shall be guilty ofan offence: Penalty, a fine of not exceeding $10,000.
Cessation of publication etc.
14. If any local newspaper or any overseas newspaper ceasespublication, or any news agency ceases to issue bulletins, for a consecutiveperiod of not less than 6 months, the registration thereof under any regulationsfor the time being in force shall be deemed to have lapsed.
15. The Minister with the approval of His Majesty the Sultan and YangDi-Pertuan may make regulations for carrying this Act into effect and inparticular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing suchregulations may provide for —
(a) the registration of local newspapers, overseas newspapers and news agencies and their proprietors, printers, publishers andeditors;
(b) the licensing of distributors of local newspapers andoverseas newspapers;
(c) the prohibition of the distribution of local newspapers andoverseas newspapers except by licensed distributors;
(d) the regulation of the distribution with or in newspapers ofdocuments not forming an integral part thereof;
(e) the particulars to be furnished in connection withregistration or licensing, notification of any change in the requiredparticulars and the manner in which and the conditions upon which effect may begiven or refused to be given, to any such change;
(f) the manner in which the identity of the printer of any localnewspaper and the time of printing or publication shall be established
and, in particular, for the printing of the printer’s andpublisher’s name and address on any such newspapers;
(g) the identification of press representatives on their request bythe issue of passes or otherwise by such authority as may beprescribed;
(h) granting exemption from all or any of the provisions of this
Act or of any of the regulations made hereunder;
(i) fees and deposits;
(j) forms either in addition to or in substitution for the form in theSchedule;
(k) prescribing anything which is required by this Act to beprescribed.
(l) the nature and form of any document necessary for thepurposes of this Act.
1. Local newspapers $ 5,000
2. Overseas newspaper —
(i) less than 200 copies $50
(ii) 200 to 500 copies $200
(iii) 501 to 1,000 copies $500
(iv) 1,001 to 4,000 copies $ 1,000
(v) more than 4,000 copies $15,000
AMOUNT OF DEPOSIT
1. Local magazines $ 20,000 cash
2. Local newspapers $100,000 cash