Earl of RONALDSHAY
asked the Postmaster-General if he has power to prohibit the acceptance for transference of telegrams, such as those made public in Trafalgar-square on the 17th instant, containing offensive reference to the Sovereign of a friendly Power; and, if so, will he say what steps he proposes to take to prevent the transference of such telegrams in future?
§ The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Sydney Buxton)
I have not seen a report of the contents of the telegrams to which reference is made. Perhaps I may be allowed to point out that the question of the acceptance or refusal of a particular telegram is a very difficult and delicate one, and one which has to be decided by a subordinate officer on the spur of the moment. By regulation under the Telegraph Acts it is provided that "No telegram shall be transmitted or tendered for transmission which contains anything obscene or libellous or of a grossly offensive character." This regulation is usually interpreted to apply in the main to telegrams sent by one individual to another individual as such, and even then discrimination is not easy.