HC Deb 12 March 1947 vol 434 cc1314-5
30. Dr. Segal

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what assistance he proposes to give to provide an adequate news service for the nationalist Press of Nigeria.

Mr. Creech Jones

I appreciate the importance of an adequate news service being made available to the public in Nigeria, and the matter has received my attention. But it has not been the practice hitherto to make any official arrangements for the provision of news services for privately owned newspapers, on the assumption that independent agencies exist for the purpose. The situation, however, remains unsatisfactory. I should add that Nigerian newspapers already receive items of official news from the Public Relations Officer there. In addition, the London Press Service, an official service originated in London, providing commentary and background on the news, is received by the Nigerian Government and is available to newspapers. The question will continue to engage my attention.

Dr. Segal

Will the Minister bear in mind that if these papers are not provided with an adequate news service, they are left with no other alternative but to fill their columns with propaganda?

Mr. Creech Jones

That is a matter to which both the Governor and myself have given close attention. We are very anxious that the news service should be improved.

Mr. Keeling

Does the Secretary of State think that even if he takes the water to the horse he can succeed in making him drink?

Mr. Dumpleton

Is it not a fact that regular Press conferences were arranged for the editors of these newspapers and they failed to turn up?