Censorship and national security: information control in the Second World War and present day

Irving, Henry and Townend, Judith (2016) Censorship and national security: information control in the Second World War and present day. History & Policy.

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Abstract

- The recent criminal trials of Erol Incedal on terrorism-related charges, in which central details were kept secret from the public, suggests a lack of clarity about information control in a contemporary context
- It is legitimate to restrict information in the interest of national security, but only where this is strictly necessary and when safeguards exist to maintain open justice and freedom of expression
- The British experience of security censorship during the Second World War provides a compelling case study of information control in an otherwise open society that should be used to inform future policy
- The self-regulated system adopted during the Second World War ensured considerable press freedom, but was hindered by a lack of planning and poor co-ordination between the press and competing authorities
- The Second World War case study suggests that information control procedures will always be contentious but that they can be made more successful through careful planning and co-ordination, the involvement of a broad range of representatives, and an awareness of the public interest in imparting and receiving information
- Both the historic and contemporary case studies indicate that information control in an open society will rely upon a degree of self-regulation and require clear guidelines, co-operation, and opportunities for dialogue.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: censorship, freedom of expression, media law, court reporting, second world war
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Law
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA History of Great Britain
K Law
Depositing User: Judith Townend
Date Deposited: 04 May 2017 10:25
Last Modified: 04 May 2017 10:27
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/67660

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