HC Deb 02 April 1928 vol 215 cc1575-7
13. Mr. DAY

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the censorship of newspaper telegrams from Iraq has been suggested or sanctioned by the British Government?

14. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he can now make a statement about the delaying of Press messages and telegrams to England from Iraq; who is responsible for it; and the reasons for it?


In my reply to the question asked on the 29th of March by the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown), I stated that so far as I was aware there was no censorship of Press telegrams at Bagdad, and that I was in communication with the High Commissioner in regard to statements appearing in the Press as to the alleged detention of such telegrams. I have now received a Report from the High Commissioner on the subject. He informs me that under a long-standing arrangement the Bagdad Telegraph Office informs a member of his staff by telephone of the gist of any Press message for issue from Bagdad, which may appear prima facie to give an exaggerated or misleading account of any important occurrence. The object of this procedure is that the High Commissioner may be able, should he consider it advisable, to acquaint the correspondent in question with the true facts-The High Commissioner informs me that the occasion for this arises about twice a year only, and that the resultant delay in the transmission of Press messages might be one or two hours at the utmost. There is no other censorship of any kind. The High Commissioner is not informed of inward messages.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Does not the right hon. Gentleman see that this amounts to a Government control of information sent by private Press correspondents in Mesopotamia; and does he not think that it is very objectionable indeed?


No, Sir; it only amounts to giving the Governor an opportunity of supplying true information to the correspondent, if he should desire to use it.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Does the right hon. Gentleman not see that the taxpayers want to have unbiased messages from Mesopotamia, and not Governmental dope?


Is it not precisely that form of interference which is objected to when it is used in France or any other foreign country; and is not that form of censorship the common form throughout the world whenever Governments desire to interfere with Press messages?


There is no interference; the Press correspondent still remains free to send whatever he chooses.

Back to