HC Deb 17 July 1916 vol 84 cc683-4W

asked the Prime Minister when the Government authorised a secret circular to be addressed by the military authorities to the Press in Ireland prohibiting the publication of blanks indicating matter censored; if he can state the cause that led to the issue of this circular; whether such an order has been issued to the Press in this country; whether it is to be enforced by the suppression of periodical publications printed with censored parts blank; if he will name any publication now due which has been prevented from appearing by this order; and, seeing that the omission of print from paper is not a positive act punishable under any Statute, that to compel concealment of the blank would be to compel a misleading false pretence, and that the secrecy of the circular prevents the public being informed that they are being misled, will he say under what statutory provision this circular has been issued and the publication of it forbidden?


My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has asked me to answer this question. The Press in Ireland has had the benefit of the same guidance in this matter as has been given to the Press in England. The circular was a request to the Press and has been accepted and followed in the spirit of loyalty to the national interest which might be expected. The object of suppressing blanks indicating matters censored is to avoid the suggestion of information to the enemy.