News Censorship

Oral Answers to Questions — India – in the House of Commons on 20th April 1944.

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Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he has any statement to make respecting the protest of certain British newspaper correspondents in India against the suppression of their reports; and whether it is proposed to take any steps to modify the existing censorship on social and political news from India.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he can make a statement about the strong protest of the leading British journalists in India against the censorship imposed by the Army authorities on their news despatches about the Burma front.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

I have seen the Press report of the protest of certain British correspondents in India who are operating with the South-East Asia Command. Inquiries are being made.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

Will the right hon. Gentleman make it clear to the authorities in India that people here want to know the facts about the Burma campaign, whether they are favourable or not, and that only security grounds should be allowed to interfere with their efforts?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

I imagine that it is security grounds that prevail.

Mr. Astor:

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the relations between the Press and the military authorities have for a long time been less satisfactory in India than in other operational areas; and will he consider sending out an experienced officer from this country to remedy this long-standing difficulty?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

The whole question is being looked into.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

Can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that the matter will be cleared up at the earliest opportunity as there is grave resentment concerning it? Can we have some assurance that this will not mean that these reporters will be interned?

Photo of Viscount  Turnour Viscount Turnour , Horsham and Worthing

Is my right hon. Friend aware that apprehension is increased by the fact that the communiqués that we get from the Government of India appear to be of a conflicting character, and that this House is not being kept properly informed of the operations?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

These are operational matters and, with regard to the particular issues raised, it is not clear that they come within the scope of the Government of India.

Photo of Viscount  Turnour Viscount Turnour , Horsham and Worthing

Within whose scope do they come?

Photo of Commander Sir Archibald Southby Commander Sir Archibald Southby , Epsom

Has my right hon. Friend's attention been drawn to the outspoken comments on this matter in the United States Press?

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these responsible journalists claim that their matter has been censored on grounds which can have no possible relationship to security?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

As I have said, the whole matter is being looked into.