Publishers of a popular Zimbabwean daily, which was ordered to close more than four years ago, have been invited to apply for authorisation to begin publishing again, government-run media said on Friday.
Chinondidyachii Mararike, chairperson of the special Media and Information Commission, told the state-run Herald daily that any application by the publishers of the Daily News would be handled “in a fair and just manner”.
“We want to encourage anybody and everybody to come and register as a mass media house within the confines of the laws, regulations and procedures.”
The Daily News, owned by Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe , was a virulent critic of President Robert Mugabe’s government before being closed down in September 2003 for breaching Zimbabwe’s tough media laws and operating without a licence.
A state-run media commission has twice refused to grant it a licence despite a Supreme Court ruling in March 2005 that threw out the ban on the newspaper.
In its heyday, the Daily News was the country’s biggest-selling paper with a circulation of 150 000 and offered an alternative voice to the state media.
Mugabe signed a repressive media law in 2002, barring foreign correspondents in Zimbabwe and forcing all local journalists to seek accreditation to work.
However, the Zimbabwean Parliament recently approved an amendment to the media law which watered down the restrictions on media houses. — AFP