29 NOVEMBER 1940, Page 3

The Excesses of the Censors

In regard to the news which has been allowed to be printed recently about air raids on certain towns in this country we ought to be told whether it is the enemy or the people of Britain whom the censorship desires to keep in the dark. Last week we were meagrely informed that a town in the Midlands had received " its heaviest raid of the war." On Saturday we heard that a " West Midland town " had suffered an intensive attack. On Monday we heard that wave after wave of raiders had visited " a western town," and that a " South Coast town " had experienced its worst raid on Saturday night. Is it conceivable that a town to which wave after wave of raiders succeeded in finding their way would be erroneously identified by the enemy? ' If it is not, the censorship can have no other purpose in suppressing these names but to withhold information from the public at home. That is improper pro- cedure, and a grave misapprehension of the functions it should perform. Such suppression is damaging to public confidence, and still more damaging abroad. Mr. Raymond Daniell writes in the New York Times that the present restrictions are not deceiving the Nazis but are fooling Britain's best friends ; and Mr. Drew Middleton, London war correspondent of the Asso- ciated Press, suggests that the rigours of the censorship are perhaps as dangerous to the British cause as the nightly bomb- ings. The decision was no doubt the Air Ministry's, but it is hard even to imagine a valid reason for it.