Police arrest Daily News staff in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean police have arrested several workers from the independent Daily News, only hours after the paper reappeared on the streets following its closure.

Zimbabweans scrambled for copies of the paper
Zimbabweans scrambled for copies of the paper

An AFP correspondent saw several people being loaded onto the back of a police vehicle outside the paper’s offices in central Harare.

“The police have gone through our offices again,” said Gugulethu Moyo, the paper’s legal adviser.

She could not say how many people had been arrested.

Daily News on Sunday editor William Saidi said he saw police
going into the building as he left for lunch. Five reporters, three sub-editors and two internet staff were working in the offices at the time, he said.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said he had “no details” about the arrests.

Court ruling

On Friday, a court ruled the best-selling Daily News should be
registered and the state’s media commission which had denied it a licence under tough new media laws should be reconstituted.

The ruling was greeted with glee among many Zimbabwean
opposition supporters and critics of the government.

On the streets of Harare, people scrambled to buy scarce copies as they went on sale in batches.

“Thank God we’re back,” billboards advertising the paper read.

Daily News staffers hoped they could operate without interruption

Daily News staffers hoped they
could operate without interruption

The ruling came more than a month after Zimbabwe’s top court, the Supreme Court, ruled that the paper was operating illegally because it did not have a licence. The daily is a staunch critic of President Robert Mugabe.

The state-appointed Media and Information Commission (MIC)
subsequently refused to register the paper.

The police move came as little surprise. State radio said the
Saturday publication of the Daily News was “in contempt of court”.

A Daily News senior reporter Precious Shumba wrote in an article published on Saturday: “We hope that this time round we will be able to do our work without interruption.”

Media laws
Tough media laws introduced last year require all reporters and all publications to be licenced with the MIC.

The Daily News claims the legislation, known as the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act, was crafted specifically with the title in mind.

The only other two dailies on sale in Zimbabwe – the Herald and the Bulawayo-based Chronicle – are both state-owned.

Source: AFP

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