28 September 2009

Zimbabwe: New Daily Newspaper to Start Publishing in November

Zimbabwe's newest independent daily newspaper, Newsday, will start publishing on the 1st November, five years after the last daily folded.

Trevor Ncube, the publisher of the paper, said the NewsDay project, plus related operations, are expected to create over 100 jobs with an investment totaling US$4 million. Veteran journalist Barnabas Thondlana has been appointed as the editor and the paper will be published every day, except Sunday.

Ncube is the chairman of the Zimbabwe Independent and the Standard newspapers and also the proprietor of M&G Media limited, which publishes the Mail and Guardian newspaper in South Africa.

Speaking at the launch of the paper in Harare on Monday he said legally there was no regulatory body that could stop them from publishing. 'There is no body right now that can licence Newsday to operate as there is a vacuum in this area, but there will be consequences if we start publishing without permission from government,' Ncube said.

Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa said Ncube was banking on Robert Mugabe appointing the Zimbabwe Media Commissioners as soon as possible, to enable them to register Newsday before the start of November.

Interviews for this commission were held by Parliament's Committee on Standing Rules and Orders on the 3rd August and 12 candidates were selected. In terms of the constitution Mugabe must now appoint the chairman and 8 eight other members of the Commission from that list. But Mugabe has been sitting on the papers since last month.

Last week, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said he was waiting for Mugabe to return from his New York trip to conclude the appointment of the new ZMC board. As it stands, there can be no registration of new media outlets under present legislation, until the commission is in place.

The last independent daily, the Daily News, closed in 2004 after falling foul of the strict media legislation drafted by the ZANU PF led government. In 2001 their printing press had been bombed and totally destroyed, following a warning from the then information Minister, Jonathan Moyo. He said it was only a matter of time before Zimbabweans put a stop to the newspaper's 'madness.

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