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Censorship of Publications Act, 1946

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Number 1 of 1946.


CENSORSHIP OF PUBLICATIONS ACT, 1946.


ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

Section

1.

Definitions.

2.

The Censorship of Publications Board.

3.

The Censorship of Publications Appeal Board.

4.

Officers and servants of the Censorship Board and the Appeal Board.

5.

Reference of books to the Censorship Board by Customs officials.

6.

Examination of books by the Censorship Board.

7.

Prohibition orders in respect of books.

8.

Appeals to the Appeal Board in respect of prohibited books.

9.

Prohibition orders in respect of periodical publications.

10.

Applications to the Appeal Board in respect of prohibited periodical publications.

11.

Procedure of the Censorship Board.

12.

Provisions as to appeals and applications to the Appeal Board.

13.

Publication of orders.

14.

Prohibition of sale and distribution of prohibited publications.

15.

Provisions in relation to prohibition orders under Part II of the Act of 1929.

16.

Register of prohibited publications.

17.

Search warrant in respect of prohibited publications.

18.

Restriction of importation of prohibited publications.

19.

Permits.

20.

Regulations.

21.

Deposits and fees.

22.

Expenses.

23.

Repeals.

24.

Short title and collective citation.

SCHEDULE.


Act Referred to

Censorship of Publications Act, 1929

No. 21 of 1929

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Number 1 of 1946.


CENSORSHIP OF PUBLICATIONS ACT, 1946.


AN ACT TO MAKE FURTHER AND BETTER PROVISION FOR THE CENSORSHIP OF BOOKS AND PERIODICAL PUBLICATIONS. [13th February, 1946.]

BE IT ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS AS FOLLOWS:—

Definitions.

1.In this Act—

the expression “the Act of 1929” means the Censorship of Publications Act, 1929 (No. 21 of 1929);

the expression “the Appeal Board” means the Censorship of Publications Appeal Board;

the word “book” includes every printed publication which is not a periodical publication and, save where the context otherwise requires, includes every edition of a book;

the expression “the Censorship Board” means the Censorship of Publications Board;

the word “indecent” includes suggestive of, or inciting to, sexual immorality or unnatural vice or likely in any other similar way to corrupt or deprave;

the expression “the Minister” means the Minister for Justice;

the expression “the operative date” means the date of the passing of this Act;

the expression “periodical publication” includes a newspaper, magazine, journal or other printed publication which is published periodically or in parts or numbers, other than a publication published in parts or numbers at intervals which ordinarily exceed three months, and, save where the context otherwise requires, includes every edition and every issue of a periodical publication;

the word “permit” means a permit granted by the Minister under section 19 of this Act;

the word “prescribed” means prescribed by the Minister by regulations made under section 20 of this Act;

the expression “prohibited book” means a book in respect of which an order under section 7 of this Act is for the time being in force;

the expression “prohibited periodical publication” means a periodical publication in respect of which an order under section 9 of this Act is for the time being in force;

the expression “prohibition order” means an order under section 7 or section 9 of this Act;

the expression “the register” means the Register of Prohibited Publications.

The Censorship of Publications Board.

2.(1) There shall be a Censorship of Publications Board consisting of five persons.

(2) The Minister shall, as soon as may be after the passing of this Act and thereafter as occasion requires, appoint persons to be members of the Censorship Board.

(3) Such member of the Censorship Board as the Minister shall from time to time nominate for the purpose shall be the chairman thereof.

(4) Subject to subsection (5) of this section, every member of the Censorship Board shall, unless he sooner dies, resigns or is removed from office, hold office for the term of five years reckoned, in the case of the first members, from the operative date and, in the case of every subsequent member, from the expiration of the term of office of his predecessor.

(5) A member of the Censorship Board appointed to fill a vacancy arising otherwise than by effluxion of time shall hold office for the residue of the term for which the member, the termination of whose office occasioned the vacancy, would have held office if such vacancy had not occurred.

(6) A member of the Censorship Board may at any time resign his office by letter addressed to the Minister and such resignation shall take effect on the date on which the Minister receives the letter.

(7) The Minister may remove from office any member of the Censorship Board who has been absent (otherwise than by reason of his illness) from four consecutive meetings of the Censorship Board or who, in the opinion of the Minister, becomes unfit to be a member of the Censorship Board.

(8) A member of the Censorship Board shall on the cesser of his membership by effluxion of time be eligible for reappointment.

(9) The Censorship Board may act for all purposes notwithstanding the existence of one vacancy in their membership.

The Censorship of Publications Appeal Board.

3.(1) There shall be a Censorship of Publications Appeal Board consisting of five members, namely:—

(a) a chairman who shall be a judge of the Supreme Court, High Court or Circuit Court or a practising barrister or practising solicitor of not less than seven years' standing, and

(b) four ordinary members.

(2) The Minister shall, as soon as may be after the passing of this Act and thereafter as occasion requires, appoint the chairman and persons to be ordinary members of the Appeal Board.

(3) Subject to subsection (4) of this section, every member of the Appeal Board shall, unless he sooner dies, resigns or is removed from office, hold office for the term of three years reckoned, in the case of the first members, from the operative date and, in the case of every subsequent member, from the expiration of the term of office of his predecessor.

(4) A member of the Appeal Board appointed to fill a vacancy arising otherwise than by effluxion of time shall hold office for the residue of the term for which the member, the termination of whose office occasioned the vacancy, would have held office if such vacancy had not occurred.

(5) A member of the Appeal Board may at any time resign his office by letter addressed to the Minister and such resignation shall take effect on the date on which the Minister receives the letter.

(6) The Minister may remove from office any member of the Appeal Board who has been absent (otherwise than by reason of his illness) from four consecutive meetings of the Appeal Board or who, in the opinion of the Minister, becomes unfit to be a member of the Appeal Board.

(7) A member of the Appeal Board shall on the cesser of his membership by effluxion of time be eligible for reappointment.

(8) The Appeal Board may act for all purposes notwithstanding the existence of one vacancy in their membership.

Officers and servants of the Censorship Board and the Appeal Board.

4.The Minister, with the sanction of the Minister for Finance, may appoint so many persons as he thinks necessary to be officers and servants of the Censorship Board and the Appeal Board, respectively, and the persons so appointed shall hold office on such terms and conditions and shall receive such remuneration as the Minister for Finance may from time to time direct.

Reference of books to the Censorship Board by Customs officials.

5.(1) An officer of customs and excise may detain on importation (for the purpose of referring it to the Censorship Board for examination) any book which, in his opinion, ought to be examined by them under this Act.

(2) Where an officer of customs and excise detains a book under subsection (1) of this section, he shall, as soon as may be—

(a) send the book to the Censorship Board;

(b) in case the book was at the time of its detention in the custody of an incoming traveller, deliver to such traveller a notification in writing that he proposes to send the book to the Censorship Board in pursuance of this subsection or, if he knows such traveller's address, send to such traveller by prepaid registered post a notification in writing directed to that address that he proposes to send or has sent the book to the Censorship Board in pursuance of this subsection;

(c) in case the book was not at the time of its detention in the custody of an incoming traveller, deliver to the consignee or to his duly authorised agent a notification in writing that he proposes to send the book to the Censorship Board in pursuance of this subsection, or send to the consignee of the book by prepaid registered post a notification in writing directed to the address to which the book was in course of being consigned that he proposes to send or has sent the book to the Censorship Board in pursuance of this subsection.

(3) An officer of customs and excise shall not detain under this section a book, not being merchandise, which is carried by or forms part of the personal luggage of an incoming traveller.

(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed as affecting the operation of the Customs Consolidation Act, 1876, as amended or adapted by or under any subsequent enactment.

Examination of books by the Censorship Board.

6.(1) The Censorship Board shall examine every book duly referred to them by an officer of customs and excise and every book in respect of which a complaint is made to them in the prescribed manner by any other person and may examine any book on their own initiative.

(2) When examining a book under this section, the Censorship Board shall have regard to the following matters:—

(a) the literary, artistic, scientific or historic merit or importance, and the general tenor of, the book;

(b) the language in which it is written;

(c) the nature and extent of the circulation which, in their opinion, it is likely to have;

(d) the class of reader which, in their opinion, may reasonably be expected to read it;

(e) any other matter relating to the book which appears to them to be relevant.

(3) When examining a book under this section, the Censorship Board may communicate with the author, editor or publisher of the book and may take into account any representation made by him in relation thereto.

Prohibition orders in respect of books.

7.If the Censorship Board, having duly examined a book, are of opinion—

(a) that it is indecent or obscene, or

(b) that it advocates the unnatural prevention of conception or the procurement of abortion or miscarriage or the use of any method, treatment or appliance for the purpose of such prevention or procurement,

and that for any of the said reasons its sale and distribution in the State should be prohibited, they shall by order prohibit such sale and distribution.

Appeals to the Appeal Board in respect of prohibited books.

8.(1) The author, the editor or the publisher, or any five persons (each of whom is a member of Dáil Eireann or Seanad Eireann) acting jointly, may appeal to the Appeal Board from a prohibition order in respect of a book at any time within twelve months after the operative date or twelve months after the date on which the prohibition order takes effect (whichever is the later).

(2) The Appeal Board on an appeal under this section shall (as they think proper) affirm or revoke the prohibition order or vary the order so as to exclude from the application thereof any particular edition of the prohibited book published before, on or after the date of the prohibition order.

(3) Subject to subsection (4) of this section, one appeal only shall lie to the Appeal Board against a prohibition order in respect of a prohibited book.

(4) The Appeal Board may, on the application of the author, the editor or the publisher or the joint application of any five persons (each of whom is a member of Dáil Eireann or Seanad Eireann), from time to time vary a prohibition order in respect of a book so as to exclude from the order any edition of that book published after the date of the order and in respect of which no application has previously been made under this subsection.

Prohibition orders in respect of periodical publications.

9.(1) The Censorship Board shall examine the issues recently theretofore published of every periodical publication in respect of which a complaint is made to them in the prescribed manner by any person, and if they are of opinion that the said issues—

(a) have usually or frequently been indecent or obscene, or

(b) have advocated the unnatural prevention of conception or the procurement of abortion or miscarriage or the use of any method, treatment or appliance for the purpose of such prevention or procurement, or

(c) have devoted an unduly large proportion of space to the publication of matter relating to crime,

and that for any of the said reasons the sale and distribution in the State of the said issues and future issues of that periodical publication should be prohibited, they shall by order prohibit the sale and distribution thereof accordingly.

(2) The word “advocated” in paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of this section shall be construed as including the publication (whether by advertisement or otherwise) of any matter advocating, or any advertisement or notice of any publication which advocates anything referred to in the said paragraph.

(3) A prohibition order under this section in respect of a periodical publication, in respect of which a prohibition order or an order under section 10 of the Act of 1929 has not previously been made, shall, unless previously revoked under this Act, be in force for, and expire at the end of, whichever of the following periods is appropriate, that is to say:—

(a) in the case of a periodical publication which, immediately before the making of the prohibition order, was being published at intervals ordinarily exceeding one month, the period of twelve months from the date on which the prohibition order comes into operation,

(b) in the case of a periodical publication which, immediately before the making of the prohibition order, was being published at intervals ordinarily exceeding one week but not ordinarily exceeding one month, the period of six months from such date,

(c) in any other case, the period of three months from such date.

Applications to the Appeal Board in respect of prohibited periodical publications.

10.(1) The Appeal Board may at any time, on the application of the publisher or the joint application of any five persons (each of whom is a member of Dáil Eireann or Seanad Eireann), revoke a prohibition order in respect of a periodical publication or from time to time vary the order so as to exclude from the application of the order any particular edition or issue of the periodical publication.

(2) Where an application under this section in respect of a prohibited periodical publication has been decided by the Appeal Board, no subsequent application in respect thereof shall be brought until the expiration of three months from the date of such decision.

Procedure of the Censorship Board.

11.The following provisions shall apply with respect to the exercise by the Censorship Board of its functions:—

(a) the Censorship Board shall hold meetings from time to time as occasion requires;

(b) four members shall constitute a quorum at any such meeting;

(c) a prohibition order shall not be made unless at such meeting three at least of the members vote in favour of the making of the order and not more than one member votes against it.

Provisions as to appeals and applications to the Appeal Board.

12.The following provisions shall apply with respect to appeals and applications (in this section also referred to as appeals) to the Appeal Board under this Act:—

(a) the Appeal Board shall from time to time as occasion requires hold meetings for the purpose of deciding appeals;

(b) four members shall constitute a quorum at any such meeting;

(c) a prohibition order shall not be revoked or varied unless at such meeting three at least of the members vote in favour of such revocation or variation;

(d) the Appeal Board shall not consider any appeal by an author or publisher save after the lodgment with them of a deposit of five pounds in respect of the appeal;

(e) the Appeal Board, having decided the appeal, may, if satisfied that the appeal was not frivolous, direct the deposit to be refunded and, if they do not so direct, the deposit shall be forfeited;

(f) if the Appeal Board decide to revoke or vary a prohibition order, they shall as soon as may be communicate their decision to the Censorship Board.

Publication of orders.

13.The Censorship Board shall as soon as may be cause to be published in the Iris Oifigiúil every prohibition order and every order of the Appeal Board revoking or varying a prohibition order and every such order shall have effect on and from the day on which it is so published.

Prohibition of sale and distribution of prohibited publications.

14.(1) No person shall, except under and in accordance with a permit—

(a) sell, or expose, offer, advertise or keep for sale, or

(b) distribute, or offer or keep for distribution,

any prohibited book or any prohibited periodical publication.

(2) Every person who acts in contravention of subsection (1) of this section shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds or at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment with or without hard labour for a term not exceeding six months or to both such fine and such imprisonment and, in any such case, to forfeiture of the relevant prohibited book or prohibited periodical publication.

Provisions in relation to prohibition orders under Part II of the Act of 1929.

15.(1) Where—

(a) an order was made under section 6 of the Act of 1929 in respect of a publication which is a book within the meaning of that Act, and

(b) the order was in force immediately before the operative date,

the following provisions shall have effect—

(i) the order shall continue in force,

(ii) the provisions of this Act, other than section 13 , shall apply in respect of the order as if it were an order under section 7 of this Act,

(iii) so long as the order is in force, the publication shall, for the purposes of this Act, be a prohibited book.

(2) Where—

(a) an order was made under section 7 of the Act of 1929 in respect of a publication which is a periodical publication within the meaning of that Act, and

(b) the order was in force immediately before the operative date,

the following provisions shall have effect—

(i) the order shall continue in force,

(ii) whether the publication is or is not a periodical publication within the meaning of this Act, the provisions of this Act, other than section 13 , shall apply in respect of the order as if it were an order under section 9 of this Act,

(iii) so long as the order is in force the publication shall, for the purposes of this Act, be a prohibited periodical publication.

Register of prohibited publications.

16.(1) The Censorship Board shall cause to be prepared and kept a register, in the prescribed form, to be called the Register of Prohibited Publications.

(2) Whenever a prohibition order is made the Censorship Board shall, as soon as may be, cause to be entered in the register—

(a) if the order relates to a book, the title of the book, the edition or editions thereof to which the order applies, the name of the author and of the publisher of the book if and as stated therein, the date of the order and the date of the publication thereof in the Iris Oifigiúil;

(b) if the order relates to a periodical publication, the title of the periodical publication, the edition or editions thereof to which the order applies, the name of the proprietor and of the publisher thereof, if and as stated therein, the date of the order and the date of the publication thereof in the Iris Oifigiúil.

(3) The Censorship Board shall, as soon as may be after the revocation or expiration of a prohibition order, cause to be deleted from the register the entry relating to the relevant book or periodical publication.

(4) The Censorship Board shall, as soon as may be after the variation of a prohibition order, cause particulars of the varying order and of the variation effected thereby to be entered in the register opposite the entry relating to the relevant book or periodical publication.

(5) The Censorship Board shall cause the register to be printed, published and made available to the public in such manner and at such times as the Minister may direct.

(6) It shall be the duty of every officer of customs and excise examining the baggage of incoming travellers to exhibit on demand a list of all prohibited books and prohibited periodical publications.

(7) The register shall be open to inspection free of charge by any person at such place in the City of Dublin and at such hours as shall be prescribed and a copy of any entry in the register certified by a member or an officer of the Censorship Board to be a true copy shall be furnished by the Censorship Board to any person on payment of such fee as may be prescribed from time to time by the Minister with the consent of the Minister for Finance.

(8) A document purporting to be a copy of an entry in the register and to be certified by a member or an officer of the Censorship Board to be a true copy shall, without proof of the signature of such member or officer or of the fact that he is such member or officer, be accepted in all courts of justice as evidence until the contrary is proved of the terms of such entry and that the entry was contained in the register at the date on which such certificate purports to have been given.

(9) The fact that a book or a periodical publication is at any particular time entered in the register shall be conclusive evidence that a prohibition order has been made in regard thereto and that such order is then still in force and the terms of such entry in the register shall be conclusive evidence of the editions of such book or editions or issues of such periodical publication to which such order applies.

(10) The register required, before the operative date, to be kept under section 11 of the Act of 1929 shall, as on and from the operative date, be deemed to form part of the register.

(11) The reference in section 16 of the Act of 1929 to the register of prohibited publications shall be construed as a reference to the register.

Search warrant in respect of prohibited publications.

17.(1) Where a Justice of the District Court is satisfied on the information on oath of an officer of the Gárda Síochána not below the rank of chief superintendent that there is reasonable ground for suspecting that in any specified building, land, premises or other place there are kept for sale or distribution any prohibited books or prohibited periodical publications, the Justice may issue to that officer such search warrant as is mentioned in this section.

(2) A search warrant issued by a Justice of the District Court under this section shall be expressed and shall operate to authorise a named officer of the Gárda Síochána not below the rank of superintendent, accompanied by such other members of the Gárda Síochána as such officer shall think proper, at any time within forty-eight hours after the issue of the search warrant, and if needs be by force, to enter and search the specified building, land, premises, or other place aforesaid (which place shall be also specified in the warrant) for prohibited books or prohibited periodical publications and to seize and remove all such books and periodical publications found on such search.

Restriction of importation of prohibited publications.

18.(1) No person shall, except under and in accordance with a permit, import any prohibited book or any prohibited periodical publication.

(2) Where a person is charged, under section 186 of the Customs Consolidation Act, 1876, with the importation of a prohibited book or a prohibited periodical publication it shall be a good defence for him to prove that the book or periodical publication was imported otherwise than for sale or distribution or that it was not a prohibited book or prohibited periodical publication at the time he ordered it.

Permits.

19.(1) The Minister may at his discretion grant permits for the purposes of this Act and may grant any such permit subject to such conditions as he thinks fit to impose and specifies in the permit.

(2) A permit granted under section 10 of the Act of 1929 and in force immediately before the operative date shall continue in force and shall be deemed to be a permit.

Regulations.

20.(1) The Minister may make regulations in relation to

(a) any matter or thing referred to in this Act as prescribed;

(b) any other matter about which the Minister considers it necessary or desirable to make regulations for the purpose of carrying into effect the objects of this Act.

(2) The Minister shall, before making regulations under this section affecting the Censorship Board or the Appeal Board, consult with the Board concerned.

(3) Every regulation made under this section shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made, and if a resolution annulling the regulation is made by either such House within the next twenty-one days on which that House has sat after the regulation is laid before it, the regulation shall be annulled accordingly but without prejudice to anything previously done thereunder.

Deposits and fees.

21.Every deposit under section 12 of this Act and every fee under subsection (7) of section 16 of this Act shall be collected and taken in such manner as the Minister for Finance directs and any deposit forfeited under the said section 12 and every such fee shall be paid into or disposed of for the benefit of the Exchequer in accordance with the directions of the said Minister, and the Public Offices Fees Act, 1879, shall not apply in respect of any such deposit or fee.

Expenses.

22.The expenses incurred in the administration of this Act shall, to such extent as may be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance, be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas

Repeals.

23.The enactment mentioned in the second column of the Schedule to this Act is, to the extent set out in the third column of the said Schedule, hereby repealed.

Short title and collective citation.

24.(1) This Act may be cited as the Censorship of Publications Act, 1946.

(2) The Act of 1929 and this Act may be cited together as the Censorship of Publications Acts, 1929 and 1946.

SCHEDULE.

Enactments Repealed.

Number and Year

Short title

Extent of Repeal

No. 21 of 1929

The Censorship of Publications Act, 1929 .

Part II; and section 20 .