HC Deb 04 February 1942 vol 377 c1178
40. Mr. Creech Jones

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies why the local Press in Nigeria were recently warned against the publication of critical statements likely to encourage discontent; and why the use of the Governor's power under the General Defence Regulations was threatened?

Mr. George Hall

The warning given to the Press by the Governor of Nigeria specifically referred to the publication of incorrect and misleading statements. The Governor has special war-time powers under the General Defence Regulations to take action against newspapers publishing such statements when, in view of the present emergency, their publication, in his opinion, is likely to have results which might be inimical to public order. Certain newspapers have, in fact, offended against the Regulations and thus rendered themselves liable to penalties. The Governor has attempted to deal with them by making a personal approach. He reports that this has had no effect, and that he therefore issued a warning in a broadcast speech from Lagos that in future cases action would be taken where necessary under the Regulations.

Mr. Creech Jones

Will my hon. Friend see that a very liberal discretion is exercised in respect of the administration of those Regulations?

Mr. Hall

That has been the case, but there are Regulations which must be applied, and if they are constantly evaded, the Governor must take action.

Mr. Sorensen

Can the hon. Gentleman say against what journals action has been taken?

Mr. Hall

No action has been taken yet.

Commander Locker-Lampson

Is not some of the local Press under German influence?

Mr. Hall

I do not think so.

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