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Press Laws

Volume 467: debated on Wednesday 13 July 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is consulted before action is taken by colonial Governors to suppress newspapers; and whether he will undertake periodical review of each case.

I know of no instance of a colonial Governor suppressing a newspaper. The second part of the Question does not therefore arise.

Is my hon. Friend aware that the President of the Empire Press Union, Colonel J. J. Astor, in criticising this power, stated that it was liable to abuse? Will he, therefore, look into the question to see if there is any real necessity for this power to be retained?

There is only one colony where I know that the Governor has the power. He is not exercising it, so far as I am aware, in that colony.

Can my hon. Friend say if that colony is Malta, and, if so, can he inform the House of any progress which has been made in the consideration of the possibility of revising the somewhat obsolete and oppressive Press Ordinance in Malta?

Yes, the colony is Malta. As my hon. Friend knows, Malta has responsible self-government. It is for Maltese Ministers to decide whether or not they will reorganise their Press laws.

On a point of Order. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies has already given information to the House on this point. Is it not, therefore, reasonable to expect that my hon. Friend would be able to inform the House further? That is why I asked my question in that form—simply for information.

My hon. Friend knows that I cannot get one past the Table. That is why he says that.

Do my hon. Friend's observations about the suppression of newspapers also apply to the banning of newspapers imported from this country?

Is the Minister aware that the "Labour Monthly" is banned in Kenya, and can he tell us why?