London (Nov. 14)
What appears to be a determined effort to suppress the activities of the Palestine Telegraphic Agency, the Palestinian link in the world-wide news gathering service of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and to obtain control of the news service to and from Palestine, on the part of the Palestinian government, is indicated in the cancellation of a concession granted to the Palestine Telegraphic Agency. It appears that the Palestinian government, in expectation of terminating the work of the Palestine Telegraphic Agency, is preparing to replace it with a news service controlled and manipulated by the government.
Last Spring an arrangement was concluded by which the Palestine Telegraphic Agency became the Palestine representative of Reuters, the latter placing at the disposal of the P. T. A. a daily cable service consisting of the
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(Continued from Page 1) most important news items to the extent of 7,500 words a month. At the same time Reuters agreed to take the P. T. A. news from Palestine. At this point it is well to note that in Palestine the P. T. A. is a general news agency and not only a Jewish news agency.
As the basis of the five year agreement with Reuters the latter placed at the disposal of the P. T. A. an arrangement it had made with the Palestine authorities according to which the Palestine administration agreed to waive the local terminal charge (landing tolls) of 6.25 gold centimes per word on condition that Government headquarters receive gratis one copy of all Reuters news telegrams. Before entering into the agreement with the P. T. A. an inquiry from Reuters to the Palestine government as to whether P. T. A. would be considered a suitable agent was answered in the affirmative. On May 8, the Palestine government agreed to waive the local terminal charges as regards all Reuters telegrams. The concession went into operation on June first and was terminated October first. In answer to a request made by Jacob Landau, managing director, to the Palestine Government to reconsider this question, an answer was received from Chief Secretary H. C. Luke, refusing this request but indicating that the government was prepared to take into its own hands the manipulating of Reuters service in Palestine.
That the cancellation of the concession is part of a general policy to obtain control of the news service to and from Palestine, upon which the Palestine government has embarked is evidenced by the fact that through the Colonial Office, it tried to bring pressure to bear upon the “London Times” who had appointed as its representative in Palestine Gershon Agronsky, the correspondent for the P. T. A. and the J. T. A.
Difficulties encountered by Pierre Van Paassen, a special representative of the J. T. A. in Palestine and also acting for the “Evening World,” in obtaining usual post office facilities for collecting messages, the suspension of the Hebrew daily, “Davar,” for publishing a document which had received publicity in hundreds of newspapers throughout the world, are further indications of the government’s efforts to make the press of Palestine dependent on news sources which would be in the hands of the government.