HC Deb 09 November 1939 vol 353 cc390-1
30. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why cable messages to the Amritz Bazar Patrika, of Calcutta, on 28th and 29th October, were mutilated, in view of the fact that the censored sentences had appeared in the British Press; whether newspapers with those sentences in their news will be allowed to be sent to India; and whether he is aware that such censorship leaves the impression that news sent from Great Britain to India is not objective and therefore is unreliable?

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Butler)

I have been asked to reply. The hon. Member's question refers to a number of messages, some of them being similar to articles already published in the Press here, which were stopped by the Censor, since they contained unfriendly references to neutral countries, or suggestions as to Allied negotiations and war aims which tended to be misleading. It is true that some of the matter censored, having been published in the Press of this country, will eventually be received in India in the English newspapers; but such belated and restricted publicity would not be calculated to do so much harm as the publication in India of these messages when telegraphed from England as representing the latest news. This aspect of the question is receiving further examination in the light of this particular case.

Mr. Sorensen

Do I understand that any of these messages which may be represented in the national Press are quite harmless provided that some time has elapsed?

Mr. Butler

No, Sir, the matter is not quite as simple as that.