How the Army Censored the Press in WWII

From the beginning of the war in 1939, the federal government imposed censorship in Canada. The media had to submit to severe informational regulations not to give information to the enemy, but also to maintain the morale of the troops and contribute to the war effort. Aimé-Jules Bizimana, professor at the Department of Sciences at the University of Quebec in Outaouais (UQO), recalls the facts.

“It was really in January 1940 that the Canadian Army created the first public relations office in London,” said Aimé-Jules Bizimana. All belligerents understand that war information has strategic value. »

Censorship was necessary for the largest military operation in history. “The Normandy landings, [le 6 juin 1944], it is simply the largest communication operation in the history of the Second World War”, said Aimé-Jules Bizimana. Allied forces mobilized hundreds of public relations officers and 530 war correspondents and photographers. The Canadian Army created a third public relations group that sent about sixty men. Communications were routed to London via Army Public Relations communications.

This is how Marcel Ouimet of Radio-Canada transmitted one of the first radio reports in the world about this landing.

Marcel Ouimet (1915-1985)

Radio Canada

Entertainment and the power of the image

Entertainment, including radio dramas and advertising, was also used for wartime public relations. “Public relations was strongly inspired by the methods of commercial advertising”, explains Aimé-Jules Bizimana. Beginning in 1941, Radio-Canada and CKAC broadcast entertainment plays in which characters talk about the war effort.

Like the press and the cinema, the radio drama is an effective tool for war propaganda. »

a quote from

Aimé-Jules Bizimana

That same year, the Canadian Army Public Relations Office created the Film and Photography Unit, made up of military cameramen and photographers. This unit worked closely with the National Film Board (NFB).

To close, Aimé-Jules Bizimana analyzes military public relations in other conflicts of the second half of the 20th centuryY century, and the war in Ukraine, where information is amplified by social networks.

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