HC Deb 21 March 1951 vol 485 cc2415-6
44. Mr. Driberg

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will instruct the representatives of His Majesty's Government in the General Assembly of the United Nations, at whose next session the revised Covenant on Human Rights is to be considered, to urge that the article relating to freedom of opinion and expression be revised so that it may refer specifically to infringements of freedom of the Press.

Mr. H. Morrison

No, Sir. A specific reference to freedom of the Press might make it necessary to specify all the media of information for which freedom is to be assured, and it would be most difficult to do this satisfactorily.

Mr. Driberg

In that case, can my right hon. Friend say whether he is satisfied that it will be possible under this article as drafted, or re-drafted, to raise such matters as the attack of the present Argentine Government on some of the most distinguished newspapers in the world?

Mr. Morrison

I would draw the attention of my right hon. Friend to Article 14 of the United Nations Draft Covenant on Human Rights, paragraph 2 of which provides as follows: Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression;"—

Hon. Members


Mr. Morrison

Yes, if hon. Members behave themselves. I am all in favour of Prayers, particularly by the Opposition— this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through other media of his choice. I think that should cover all the activities which are in the mind of my hon. Friend.

Mr. Henry Strauss

Does this document provide that no one may be compelled to belong to an association, and is the right hon. Gentleman aware how much distress this will cause to the Durham County Council?