Among the critics of the postal censorship, as among those of the cable censorship, there appear to be advocates of two opposite and irreconcilable ideals of censorship. Complaints are sometimes received from the recipients of censored letters that their letters can only have been opened out of idle curiosity. Others, again, complain that the censored letters should never have been permitted to reach them if the censorship were efficiently performed.
Special conditions in this country obviously modify to a certain extent the methods of local censorship, but the general principles are practically the same through-out the Empire.
In the earlier days of the war the duties of Press censorship were combined with those of cable censorship, but it soon became plain that the work required separate organizations. Accordingly the office of Press Censor was assigned to Lieut.-Colonel E. J. Chambers, of the Corp of Guides, himself a well-known journalist, and his office was transferred from the Department of Militia and Defence to that of the Secretary of State.
The Censor's duties have not been easy. The enemy, from the commencement of the war, carried on an insidious publicity campaign with world-wide ramifications. The ambassadors of Germany and Austria to the United States and the Latin-American Republics, by the lavish expenditure of money subsidized newspapers and publishers to issue matter favourable to the interests of their countries and prejudicial to the Allies. It was of supreme importance that, as far as Canada was concerned, this propaganda should be nullified. With this end in view, on November 6th, 1914, regulations were issued as to the prohibition in Canada of newspapers and other publications calculated to be directly or indirectly useful to the enemy, and containing articles or statements calculated to injure the British cause. Power of arrest was given, and a penalty not exceeding a fine of $5,000 or five years imprisonment was involved.