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31 Oct 2007 07:14
Zimbabwean authorities are to consider an application by a popular daily newspaper to resume publication four years after it was banned, a government minister announced on Tuesday.
Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu told a news conference that the government had decided to revive a regulator with responsibility for issuing licences to media houses and the body would immediately consider an application by the Daily News and its sister paper the Daily News on Sunday.
“Government has decided to reconstitute the Media and Information Commission (MIC),” Ndlovu told reporters in Harare.
He said the appointment of the new board followed a high court judgement which ruled that the MIC board be reconstituted to deal impartially with the application for the registration of the newspapers.
“Government has decided on a course of action which I believe recognises the high court judgement and provides the way forward on this matter.
“I now direct that this reconstituted MIC board deals with the aforesaid application of the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) paying particular attention to the law and the parameters set by all the court rulings on the matter.”
Once the country’s best-selling paper, the Daily News was shut down in 2003 for breaching the country’s tough media laws by operating without a licence from the MIC.
In its heyday, the paper had a circulation of 150 000—far higher than the government mouthpiece Herald.
The MIC has twice refused to grant ANZ a licence despite a Supreme Court ruling in March 2005 that threw out the ban on the newspaper.
President Robert Mugabe signed a media law in 2002 which effectively barred foreign correspondents from Zimbabwe and forced all local journalists to seek accreditation to work. â€’ Sapa-AFP
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