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September 18, 2003

Good News, But...

The Daily News, which is critical of President Robert Mugabe, was closed by the government last week for breaking a new, stringent press law.

The paper said the law was designed to stifle the press and initially refused to apply for accreditation.

However the owners later decided to register with the media commission and asked the High Court to allow the paper to continue publishing while its application was being considered.

In its ruling on Thursday, the High Court said police had no right "to prevent the applicant and its employees from gaining access to the premises of the applicant and carrying on its business".

The Zimbabwe High Court's ruling that backs the newspaper that had been closed will be seen as a good thing, but temper that warm feeling and wait to see what happens. Mugabe has ignored the court before (in specific when dealing with the farm re-distribution) and may do so again.

There is more political pressure right now on Mugabe than ever before; between his flailing economy, failed farms, a new Western attention, and a continuing food crisis, many are predicting that the current government will not survive. Mugabe's closing of the opposition newspaper was a typical move to consolidate power in a third world country.

Until the paper starts publishing again and does so consistently for months without harassment, the ruling is nothing but further ammunition against a corrupt regime. In itself, meaningless, but in a larger sense, it gives legitimacy to those who oppose Mugabe and the continued slide of Zimbabwe into chaos.

Read the story.

Posted by zombyboy at September 18, 2003 10:17 AM

Not only have they not been able to resume publishing, but four of the directors have been charged with violating Zim's restrictive new media laws. For more, see the latest from the BBC on this topic:

For Mugabe to repeatedly go after the Daily News just when Mbeki is fighting to have Mugabe invited to the lastest Commonwealth Summit is also very interesting.

Posted by: Naunihal at September 22, 2003 02:41 PM

That is an interesting twist--I really think it shows just how tenuous Mugabe thinks his grip on the country is right now.

Posted by: zombyboy at September 22, 2003 02:53 PM
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