Daily News fails in latest bid to resume publishing

By Jon Slattery

Zimbabwe’s biggest-selling independent newspaper, The Daily News,
has lost another round in its fight to resume publishing after being
closed by armed police almost two years ago.

The country’s Media and Information Commission (MIC) has ruled that
Daily News publisher Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) had
contravened press laws introduced in 2002.

In March, the Zimbabwe
Supreme Court ordered the MIC to reconsider the 2003 edict that shut
down The Daily News, raising hopes that the newspaper could be
published again.

However, the MIC has now ruled The Daily News
had employed unaccredited journalists, published without a registration
certificate and continued to operate after the Supreme Court claimed
the paper was publishing illegally.

ANZ executive chairman Sam Nkomo said he would appeal against the decision before an administrative court.

The
Daily News was closed down by President Robert Mugabe’s regime in
September 2003 on the grounds that it failed to register with the MIC
under the new press laws that sought to control the free press and
license journalists.

The newspaper argued that the registration law was unconstitutional and intended to curb free speech.

Many of its journalists have been forced to flee the country and its executives have been threatened with imprisonment.

Press freedom campaign group Reporters Without Borders condemned the latest ruling against the newspaper.

“This
relentless suppression of Zimbabwe’s only privately owned daily
newspaper shows the Media and Information Commission totally lacks
independence,” RWB said.

Forty-five journalists employed by the
newspaper and its sister publication, The Daily News on Sunday, face
the possibility of two-year prison sentences when they appear in court
on 12 October on charges of working without official accreditation.


In an astonishing turnaround, Jonathan Moyo, who was Minister of
Information until February this year, and helped to draft the
anti-press laws, has described the ruling against The Daily News as
“scandalous”.

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