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PAGB PWWTEEN Small-Town Officials Censor News, Cheat People Out of Rights BLYTHEVILLE (A«.) COURIER NEWS You don't have to go to dlctalur nations to find censorship. From coast <o coas(, newsp.iiHTs are ftghtlnf rond blocks to freedom df inforiti.itIon on federal, state and local levels. The Associated Vress concluded a n a lion-wide survey anil found censorship in this free-est la nil of them all far more widespread thnn you may realize. This is the first In a series nf three articles. By JAMKS JJKV1JX NEW YORK. (JPi You don't Imvfi to go to a dictator nation to lind public officials shrouding their activities behind iin iron curin In of censorship, You can find the sumo thi» here—perhaps in your home town, It Is a censorship by closert meetings .buried records nnd "no comments"—rather than the direct "Don't print that" of the totalitarian countries. But the effect is the .same hi providing a secrecy cloak for nreaf. of government on the federal, state and local levels. Newspapers arc fighting—of tin successfully—to remove these hlnck- outs. 15-Year HIackout Officials of one town knew for 15 years Hint the U. S, Public Health Service had condemned its drinking water. The newspapers didn't know. Neither did the people. A county employe handling public money stole marriage license fees. County officials wont into secret session, decided he wouldn't do It ngain And kept him on the job. The matter was kept quiet. Taxpayers learned of It six years later when the thefts mounted to $18,000 nnd they wore coiled upon to make up the loss. Secrecy AffccU You .These examples show that official secrecy is not a remote maL- t*r involving wily high governmental circles, but something that- can affect you personally. James S. Pope, executive editor of the Louisville 'Courier Journal and Louisville Times and chairman j o/ the American Society of News- I paper Editors' Committee on I^ce- dom. says: "When news k suppressed, nil the newspapers lose Is n story. But the people lose touch with and control of their government" ' Dcninl IB Often .The right to know Ls denied more often, than you might realize. Tlie nation-wide survey of offi- ctal suppression of news and what is being done about it. It' found instances of concealment, and. determined newspaper fights against it, from coast to coast and from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico. Many of the news blackouts — and fights against them — are local. But added together they form a broad "picture. The survey showed: 1. There is some degree of news suppression at every governmental level, from Washington to the towns. 2. The suppression almost always can be beaten when there Is n determined challenge by spirited newspapers, especially when they are backed by the people. The pattern Is reflected In Wisconsin, where the Milwaukee Journal conducted a detailed study of official efforts to .siVjother news. "Closed Door" Meetings Bdwin R. Bsyley, the Journal's state political reporter, toured every city of more than 15,000 population and found that in mosl there are some governmental bodies which met behind "closed doors," hidden from press and public, He found, too, that: "In some eJUc-s, reporters are drnfed access to police ;m<l sheriff's reports, ami news of this kind i.s carefully filtered through the chief officer. "Newspapers suspect, nnd sometimes are nbte lo prove, that news of crime acid accidents i.s censored to conceal circumstances eni- bftiras£infj to the department or to protect prominent person* or political friends from unfavorable publicity. 1 ' ITftfiH (run Break Veil The wafer incident shows how a vigilant press can brctik through the secrecy veil. A reporter for the LuCimse WJ.s, Tribune learned that railroad trains did nut tnke on water at LK- Cross. He found that the United States Public Health Service had reported it- had a high bacteria! count. The Journal, reviewing the incident, .said; "The reporter aJso found thut the first report on the ]xmr condition of rhe water had boon filed 15 iM before and repented tvery year since. The former city engineer and some members of the City Council had know]) about it, but never made It public. "The di.su In K clamor led to chlorination of the city's water." Buyley reported that "there Is 10 more, and probably le.s.s, -secrecy in government In Wisconsin than In other stales." WKDNKSDAY, MARCH 12, 1953 the Friction, produced along banks of n river due to irrPfiUlnri- tlcs. enures the water there to flow more slowly than ft does In the middle of the stream. Hcnd Courier News Cla.uiflcd Ads. Forgery Easy in U. S. BELFAST, Northern Island IH;~ oiKcry is. easier In tlic U.S. than In Britain, says Dr. Cecil L. Wilson, of Queen's University. Delfnst. Dr. Wilson, nil fxprrl iw lorgcrv recently visited the I'll! 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