50 Years Ago: Freedom of the Press in 1920

For our March issue we prepared and had put into type, an article dealing with the late atrocities in the Punjab. This article was based entirely on the published report of the commission which was appointed to put the whitewash brush over the bloodstains. But putting it into type was as far as we could get with the business, for at that point there came into operation that vaunted prop and pillar of the British Empire, the “Freedom of the Press”, to wit.

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The firm which machines our paper declined to proceed with the printing of the issue, and we had to have the ‘wind up’ article removed and another substituted for it before we could get the paper published.

Of course we are not blaming the printer. It is only logical to suppose that there is some element of risk attaching to the printing of a revolutionary paper. Our hypocritical bosses, who of late years have traded so much on the word ‘democracy’, have taken great care, while mouthing the magic phrase “Freedom of the Press”, to manufacture such an atmosphere of fear as effectually strangles any shred of literary freedom that may have been left to the working class of this country.

(From an unsigned Editorial in the SOCIALIST STANDARD, April 1920)

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