Censorship of Press and Radio

September 20, 1939

Report Outline
Censorship and Propaganda in Europe
Wartime Press Censorship in United States
Control of Propaganda in United States

Censorship and Propaganda in Europe

Criticism of Rigorous Censorship Imposed by Allies

Immediately after the outbreak of war in Europe, rigid censorship was imposed on press and radio by the belligerent governments. To date, more news of a military character has emanated from Berlin than from either London or Paris—a circumstance which, although due in part to the early success of the German drive into Poland, has given rise to much criticism in the Allied countries, particularly Great Britain.

Arthur Greenwood, daputy leader of the British Labour party, told the House of Commons, September 7, that there was “growing uneasiness” over the lack of information concerning the war, and urged the government to give the nation more news, whether good or bad. Six days later, Greenwood again criticized the government's censorship policy, asserting that many foreign correspondents were planning to move to a neutral country to escape the rigors of the censorship. At the same time, Sir Archibald Sinclair, parliamentary leader of the Liberal party, condemned the government's action in suppressing details of the Royal Air Force raid on the Kiel canal.

In the House of Lords, Lord Snell, Labour leader, declared that “we could get more information from America than we can get here,” and Lord Camrose, publisher of the London Daily Telegraph, said key positions in the newly-established Ministry of Information were held by inexperienced men, A resolution expressing “grave concern at the failure of the Ministry of Information to provide the public with adequate news of the conduct of the war” was adopted, September 8, by the executive council of the National Union of Journalists. In an editorial, September 12, the Yorkshire Post urged “that there should be introduced some power of imagination in dealing with news.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Apr. 16, 2004  Broadcast Indecency
Mar. 28, 2003  Movie Ratings
Nov. 17, 1995  Sex, Violence and the Media
Feb. 19, 1993  School Censorship
Dec. 20, 1991  The Obscenity Debate
Dec. 07, 1990  Does Cable TV Need More Regulation?
May 16, 1986  Pornography
Jan. 04, 1985  The Modern First Amendment
Oct. 19, 1979  Pornography Business Upsurge
Mar. 09, 1979  Broadcasting's Deregulated Future
Mar. 21, 1973  Pornography Control
May 17, 1972  Violence in the Media
Jan. 21, 1970  First Amendment and Mass Media
Jul. 05, 1967  Prosecution and the Press
Jun. 28, 1961  Peacetime Censorship
Apr. 12, 1961  Censorship of Movies and TV
Dec. 23, 1959  Regulation of Television
Jul. 29, 1959  Control of Obscenity
Jul. 27, 1955  Bad Influences on Youth
Mar. 21, 1952  Policing the Comics
Apr. 12, 1950  Censorship of Motion Pictures
Sep. 20, 1939  Censorship of Press and Radio
Freedom of Speech and Press
Journalism and the News
War and Conflict
World War II