Lord Kitchener thanks British press for their loyalty
Lord Kitchener, who issued a statement thanking the British press for its contribution to the war effort Photo: Irish Life, 14 August 1914. Full collection of Irish Life is available from the National Library of Ireland.

Lord Kitchener thanks British press for their loyalty

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Published: 18 August 1914

The Director of the Offical Press Bureau of the British government, F.E. Smith, has issued a statement on behalf of the Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener, commending the British press for its contribution to the war effort.

In announcing that the British Expeditionary Force had successfully disembarked in France, Mr. Smith said: ‘Lord Kitchener wishes me to add that he and his country are under the greatest obligation to the press for the loyalty with which all reference to the movements of the expeditionary force in this country and to their landing have been suppressed.’

He continued: ‘Lord Kitchener is well aware that much anxiety must have been caused to the English press by the knowledge that these matters were being freely described and discussed in the continental press and he wishes to assure the press that nothing but his conviction of the military importance to this country of suppressing these movements would have led him to issue instructions which placed the press of this country under a temporary disadvantage.’

F.E. Smith, the man the Illustrated London News is calling the War Censor in Chief, released the statement on behalf of Lord Kitchener. (Image: Illustrated London News [London, England], 15 Aug 1914)

In the United Kingdom, censorship is partly enforced in the General Post Office, and is also carried out by an arrangement between the admiralty, the War Office and the newspapers through the medium of a Press Committee that is based in London.

Although newspapers across the United Kingdom now possess information about the activities of the British Expeditionary Force and about other aspects of the war, they have been ‘particularly requested’ not to publish this in case they are ‘prejudicial to the national interests’.

Indeed, the authorities have already prohibited the publication of all information bearing on military or naval movements, and all information regarding aircraft, fortifications and defence works.

Newspapers are also facing the difficulties posed by the need to preserve their supply of paper which is running dangerously low owing to the enormous demand for war news and the fact that the price of paper is soaring.

It is also reported that a modified form of censorship is being enforced on the telephone system in the United Kingdom, with no one allowed to speak any language except English in the course of a call, with anyone attempting to deviate from this being at once cut off.

Since the outbreak of war, the censorship of newspapers in all combatant countries has been severe.

News from Germany and Russia is very scarce, while news from France has also dwindled.

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