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Zimbabwe22 January 2004

Daily News hits the news stands again

An eight-page edition of the independent The Daily News hit the news stands on the streets of the capital Harare on the morning of 22 January, ending a ban of more than four-months that was lifted by the High Court the evening before.

Reporters Without Borders welcomed the return of the beleaguered newspaper: "We are very happy to see the country’s only independent daily back on sale, " said the international press freedom organisation. "It is good news for pluralism of news and information in Zimbabwe. The local people finally have access to critical news, quite distinct from what appears in the official press."

"We hope that this episode in the story of The Daily News is now closed and the authorities will allow the newspaper’s journalists to work in complete freedom and safety," it added.

Managing director of the press group that owns The Daily News, Sipepa Nkomo, said the first special edition carried already-published articles and was solely designed to advertise the fact that the newspaper was back.

The Supreme Court had declared The Daily News illegal on 11 September 2003, because it had not been registered with the Media and Information Commission as required by the law on Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

The newspaper had refused to register because it contested the constitutional basis of the AIPPA. Police moved in to close the newspaper on 12 September and sealed the premises. A few days later the security forces, acting without a warrant, seized dozens of computers belonging to the press firm. Some 50 journalists and executives of the Daily News were charged with working illegally between the end of September and the end of October.

The Daily News was named winner in the Media category of the 2003 Reporters Without Borders-Fondation de France press freedom award on 10 December.

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