HC Deb 08 March 1948 vol 448 cc784-5
43. Mr. H. D. Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs which British newspapers have been banned from circulation in Czechoslovakia and from what date; and which British journalists have been restricted from freely and fully transmitting reports to this country.

Mr. McNeil

During the period since 29th February, the circulation of the following British newspapers and periodicals in Czechoslovakia has been prohibited: the "Daily Mail," the "Daily Express," the "Graphic," the "Sunday Pictorial," the "Daily Mirror," "Time and Tide" and "Illustrated." The Czechoslovak Ministry of Information have informed His Majesty's Ambassador that it is intended only to stop the import for short periods of publications in which the Czechoslovak authorities find reports which they describe as not in accordance with the truth; and I understand that in fact the ban on the "Daily Mirror" has since been lifted.

The following restrictions have been placed on the activities of British journalists: The B.B.C. correspondent has been denied broadcasting facilities since 28th February; the correspondents of the "News Chronicle" and the Kemsley Press have been cautioned against so-called "untrue reporting"; and all foreign Press correspondents have been asked to use only Czechoslovak official sources in making their reports.

Mr. H. D. Hughes

Can my right hon. Friend say what papers are still circulating in Czechoslovakia, and how many British journalists are still there who have not been cautioned?

Mr. McNeil

As to the first part of the question, I regret—though, of course, it is understandable—that I cannot reply without notice. As to the second part of the question, all attending foreign correspondents were cautioned in the fashion to which I have drawn attention.

Sir W. Wakefield

What steps are His Majesty's Government taking to protest about this treatment?

Mr. McNeil

His Majesty's Government, in conjunction with the Governments of France and of the United States, have, as the hon. Gentleman knows, already made their observations known. On the narrow point of the publication of accurate facts, His Majesty's Government will continue to use all normal facilities available to them for the dissemination of accurate information.

Mr. Teeling

Is it not also true that all Roman Catholic weekly papers from this country have been banned—papers such as the "Catholic Herald" and the "Catholic Times"?

Mr. McNeil

I did see a report referring to the suspension or banning of certain Roman Catholic periodicals. Perhaps, the hon. Gentleman will put down a precise question.

Sir W. Smithers

Would the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that the "Daily Herald" and the "Daily Worker" have not been banned?

Mr. McNeil

As to the "Daily Worker," I am sure that the hon. Gentleman is a much more earnest student of it than I am. As for the "Daily Herald," it is true that the "Daily Herald" correspondent has had some difficulties, but, so far as I know, the paper is still circulating there.