27 April 2014

Zimbabwe: Journalist in Trouble for Operating Without Licence

JAMES Muonwa, editor-in-chief of Western Star a Chinhoyi-based community newspaper, has been jailed six months for operating a mass media house without a valid licence from the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC).

In handing down the ruling on Thursday, Chinhoyi magistrate Jele Singandu said Muonwa contravened Section 72 of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) which compels media houses to register with the ZMC.

Muonwa, however, heaved a sigh of relief after his sentence was wholly suspended on condition he does not commit a similar offence in the next five years.

In 2003, police forced the closure of the privately-owned Daily News accusing its publishers, Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, of operating without a valid licence.

The company then was refusing to register in protest against draconian media laws introduced by government.

The newspaper only resurfaced in March 2011 under new management.

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