HC Deb 17 April 1946 vol 421 cc2661-2
10. Mr. Martin Lindsay

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he will withhold from newspapers the news of loss of service aircraft until there has been time to inform next-of-kin in each case.

Mr. Strachey

No, Sir. The newspapers must be free to publish their own reports of an air accident in the same way as any other news, but the Press and the B.B.C. are cooperating closely with the Air Ministry in endeavouring to prevent the publication of the names of casualties until the next-of-kin have been informed. We do not, except under special circumstances, issue our official communiqués till we feel confident that the next-of-kin will have heard.

Mr. Lindsay

Is the Minister aware that announcements of disastrous accidents cause grave anxiety to people who have reason to think that their next-of-kin may be involved? Has he considered whether anything can be done by way of asking the organs of publicity in this country to delay publication, perhaps for 12 hours, in order to give the Air Ministry an opportunity to inform next-of-kin first?

Mr. Strachey

We have thought this matter out very carefully and have had considerable consultation with the Press upon it. I doubt whether they would be willing to go further than to delay publication of the names.