News (Censorship).

Oral Answers to Questions — Ireland. – in the House of Commons on 17th July 1922.

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Colonel NEWMAN:

88.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that for some time past it has been almost impossible for residents in this country to obtain news of their relatives, friends, or property in the pro vince of Munster; and whether he will give to the public the latest news which the special facilities at his command have enabled him to obtain, more especially of those towns and districts where forces of Free State and Republican troops are believed to be carrying on operations of a military nature against each other.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

I have always communicated to the House and I propose to continue to do so, any information of general interest which I may receive from Ireland. But the House will understand that, in view of the state of civil war which exists in a great part of that country at the present moment, the collection and dissemination of news is fraught with great difficulty; and I have not at the moment anything which I could usefully add to the information collected by the Press.

Colonel NEWMAN:

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that Queenstown is in the occupation of the Naval forces of the Crown, and, surely, they can communicate news by wireless?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

They are not in occupation of Queenstown.

Colonel NEWMAN:

89.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware of the censorship of and delay in the delivery of letters sent from this country to the Irish Free State, as also to the prohibition of the landing of any British newspapers whose views are not held to be sympathetic to the policy of those now in direction of affairs in the Free State; and has he received or asked for any explanation from the Provisional Government as to the reason for a censorship on matter which has no bearing on the ground between Free State and Republic, and is causing added hardship and anxiety to the loyalist population?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

It is the right, and indeed the duty, of any responsible Government to exercise supervision over correspondence and over the Press in times of grave national emergency, and I do not propose at this juncture to address any representations to the Provisional Government in such a matter.

Colonel NEWMAN:

Are. the ordinary English newspapers not allowed to go into Ireland?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

The Republican bulletins which are issued every day contain a great amount of very exaggerated and untruthful information calculated to encourage the rebels and cause doubt and despondency among the supporters of the Irish Free State. These bulletins appear in the English papers and they are published and censored. The Provisional Government object to information calculated to encourage the enemy being brought in by English newspapers.

Colonel NEWMAN:

Does the information in the "Morning Post" bear comfort to the Republican forces?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

it just depends what is the information. It might be that they would be depressed by reading the leading articles, and encouraged by the information contained in the news columns, or vice versa.