HC Deb 18 October 1950 vol 478 cc2036-7
26. Mr. Russell

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will direct the Governments of the West African Colonies to issue official statements denying false accounts which appear frequently in some of the local newspapers.

Mr. J. Griffiths

The Governments already use their public relations organisations for this purpose when it is considered necessary, and I do not feel that any direction from me is required.

Mr. Russell

Is the right hon. Gentleman quite satisfied that most of the incorrect statements made in West African newspapers are corrected by his public relations departments?

Mr. Griffiths

I think that the public relations departments in the West African territories are doing a very good job indeed.

Mr. Baldwin

Would it not be better to ban these scurrilous organs altogether, which are in no sense newspapers but anti-British propaganda that does a great deal of harm to the Governments of West Africa?

Mr. Gammans

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that if he takes the trouble to read the Government publications in the last two months, he will find that in almost no instance has any attempt been made to contradict even the most outrageous statements, which are, in fact, Communist propaganda?

Mr. Griffiths

That is not so. The public relations officers continuously combat the statements that are made.

Mr. Mellish

In view of the large amount of propaganda also published in our British newspapers, will my right hon. Friend arrange for this to be banned as well?

Mr. N. Macpherson

While the statements may be contradicted by the public relations officers, have the Government any power to insist on these contradictions being published in the papers?