Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/76

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not permissible. Their work, because of their knowledge, showed discipline and restraint, and it can be said, broadly, that they wrote nothing which would advantage the enemy in the slightest degree.

In the war in South Africa we saw a tremendous change. Many of the men sent out were simply able word-spinners, supremely innocent of military knowledge, knowing absolutely nothing of military operations, unable to judge whether a bit of news would be of value to the enemy or not. Their business was to get "word-pictures"—and they got them. In doing so they sealed the doom of the war correspondent. The feeble and inefficient censorship established at Cape Town, for want of intelligent guidance, did little or nothing to protect the Army, and the result was that valuable information, published in London, was promptly telegraphed to the Boer leaders by way of Lourenço Marques. Many skilfully planned British movements, in consequence, went hopelessly to pieces, and by the time war was over, Lord Roberts and military men generally were fully agreed that, when the next war came, it would be absolutely necessary to establish a censorship of a very drastic nature.

We see that censorship in operation to-day, but far transcending its proper function. It was established—or it should have been established—for the sole purpose of preventing the publication of news likely to be of value to the enemy. Had it stopped there, no one could have complained.

I contend that in point of fact it has, throughout the war, operated not merely to prevent the enemy getting news which it was highly desirable should be kept from him, but to suppress news which the British public—the most patriotic and level-headed public in all the world—has every right to demand.