Daily News 'will return to streets of Zimbabwe'

By Jon Slattery

The editor of Zimbabwe’s banned Daily News has vowed that the independent newspaper will be back on the streets.

Sam Nkomo was speaking after last month’s setback when Zimbabwe’s
Media and Information Commission refused to grant The Daily News a
licence.

Nkomo, who is also executive chairman of Daily News
publisher Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), said: “The bunch
that shut down The Daily News will soon come to an end and The Daily
News will bounce back on the streets again.

“I have ceased to
estimate a time as to when the paper will come back, but all I am
saying is I will remain here as the boss of ANZ until the papers are
back on the streets. It could be a few months or a few years, but I
will still be here.”

The Daily News was Zimbabwe’s largest
independent paper with a circulation of 150,000 when it was banned in
2003 and armed police shut down its offices in Harare.

Forty-five of The Daily News’ journalists are to be tried on 12 October for working without official accreditation. They face two years in prison.

In
an interview with press freedom group Reporters Without Frontiers,
Nkomo said: “I have had to endure heartbreaking years as the chief
executive officer of ANZ, but if the head loses hope, then the body
loses hope. I have not lost hope. I have the responsibility to keep
hopes high. I still think that The Daily News will hit the streets
again one day. As I said, that day is not far away. Evil cannot
continue to rule indefinitely.”

Nkomo estimates that since the
closure of both The Daily News and The Daily News On Sunday on 12
September 2003, he has spent Z$10 billion (£124,000) on legal fees and
costs related to the closure of the two titles.

He added: “We
have had to lay off 167 workers, including journalists, as a result of
this protracted legal battle. But I believe all those who worked for
both The Daily News and The Daily News On Sunday are burning in their
hearts with the desire to come back and ‘tell it as it is’. That was
our slogan.

“A new dawn is close. When we come back we will be
much stronger and more committed. Even some of our journalists, who are
now residents outside the country, will come back and make The Daily
News what it was.”

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