HC Deb 24 June 1937 vol 325 cc1384-5W
Mr. Leckie

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what action he has taken, or proposes to take, with reference to the systematic anti-British news and propaganda disseminated by such foreign news agencies as D.N.B., Tass, Havas, Stefani, and Domei, and the biased news reports sent out by foreign radio stations including that located at Bari, Italy; whether he is aware that such news messages go out almost daily from Bari in 16 languages; and whether he is kept fully informed as to their contents?

Viscount Cranborne

The question of the issue of news in an inaccurate form by certain foreign news agencies is naturally a matter of concern to His Majesty's Government. There is clearly no action open to His Majesty's Government which can put a complete stop to this practice, although it may be possible to make representations to foreign Governments concerned in specific cases. Much thought has been given to the question of counteracting the effects of such distorted news. Arrangements are already in existence for ensuring so far as possible that accurate news of matters of concern to His Majesty's Government is available to the British Press and news agencies. Any more positive action on the part of His Majesty's Government in this direction is rendered difficult by the necessity in this country of respecting the liberty of the Press.

As regards the broadcasting from Bari and other foreign stations of news with an anti-British bias, representations have several times been made and His Majesty's Government are constantly reviewing the possibility of other action. The question of the use of languages other than English in the Empire programme broadcast from Daventry is at present under examination by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

The answer to the last part of the question is Yes, Sir.

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