29 January 2004

Daily News resumes publishing until at least mid-February

Harare - Zimbabwe's Supreme Court has postponed to next month a case in which the government is challenging the operations of the country's popular independent daily the Daily News, a lawyer said Wednesday. The country's highest court will sit on February 18 to deal with two appeals against the Daily News, which was banned by authorities four months ago, but resumed publishing a week ago after a favourable High Court ruling.

"The chief justice (Godfrey Chidyausiku) ordered by consent that the two appeals from the administrative court be consolidated and argued together on the 18th of February," Daily News lawyer Mordercai Mahlangu told reporters after a session in chambers with the head of the Supreme Court. The state which had wanted its appeals head urgently, last week filed for an urgent interdict order to stop the paper from continuing its operations.

The Daily News hit the streets of Zimbabwe on Thursday last week, after the Harare High Court ordered police, who had forcibly closed it in September and occupied its premises, to leave the premises, allowing it to start running its presses again. The government claims that the paper is still operating illegally because it does not have a licence from the state-appointed media commission as required by the media law. Meanwhile, Mahlangu said the application for an order to shut down the paper again would be heard after the Daily News has filed supplementary arguments opposing the media commission's bid to close it again. (News24, SA)


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