HC Deb 14 June 1939 vol 348 cc1304-6
64. Mr. Mathers

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what is the reason for the renewed censorship upon Cyprus newspapers and the banning of the publication of political news; and if he will cause these restrictions to be removed?

70. Mr. Paling

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can give the House any information about the recent restrictions placed on the Press in Cyprus?

Sir T. Inskip

Last month, one newspaper, which had appeared for the first time, was suppressed. Apart from this case, no newspaper in Cyprus has, as far as I am aware, been placed under censorship since the removal last February of the censorship on the "Embros." The Acting Governor reported, however, that he took a serious view of the recent newspaper agitation, and the communication made to the editors of certain newspapers was designed to meet that situation. My right hon. Friend intends to review the whole matter, and I am not yet in a position to make any further statement.

Mr. Mathers

Are we to understand, from the Minister's statement, that the calling together of the editors of Cyprus newspapers, and the instructions given to them that they must not publish political news, even though it had appeared in this country previously, is not to be considered as censorship? That is how I read the answer, and surely a position like that is one that should not prevail in a British colony?

Sir T. Inskip

As I have said, my right hon. Friend is reviewing the whole matter. The editors of six or seven newspapers were called together in order to hear the views of the Acting Governor, who made certain requests to them.

Mr. Paling

If a censorship has not been in force for some time, will the right hon. Gentleman indicate to the Governor the undesirability of calling such a conference to put what is virtually a censorship into operation although formally it may have been lifted?

Sir T. Inskip

I will call my right hon. Friend's attention to what the hon. Member has said.

Captain A. Graham

Does not my right hon. Friend consider that the entirely irresponsible attitude of the Cypriot Greek Press, and their very inflammatory articles, call for a measure of censorship?

Mr. Foot

Will the right hon. Gentleman cause to be placed in the Library, for the information of Members, the article on "Freedom of the Press" following which the censorship was placed on the newspaper "Embros," so that Members may see for themselves the grounds on which the censorship was imposed?

Sir T Inskip

I will ask my right hon. Friend to consider that suggestion, but I am not sure that the hon. Member is right in speaking of the article he has in mind as the reason for the censorship.

Mr. Foot

Is it not a fact that the censorship was imposed the day after the article appeared?