Sri Lanka's revival of a media regulatory group that empowers the government to imprison or fine journalists is raising concerns from press freedom groups.

President Maithripala Sirisena made new appointments last week to the council he had dissolved following his shock election victory in January over strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had applied tight controls over media.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says in a statement released Tuesday that Sirisena's revival of the council calls into question his commitment to democratic reforms.

The council prohibits publication of what is deemed official secrets, certain military matters, and fiscal, exchange or import control measures being considered by the government.

Anyone found guilty of such offenses could be sentenced to a maximum of two years in prison, a fine or both.