Zimbabwe Government Closes Another Newspaper

A Zimbabwean man reads The Tribune on June 12, 2004.  (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

The days of the private media in Zimbabwe are numbered. Soon, readers will wake up to see only state-owned newspapers decorating the newsstands.

On June 10, the government controlled Media and Information Commission (MIC) closed The Tribune, leaving at least 60 full-time staff out of work.

The Tribune is the third newspaper to shut down in less than a year. Last September armed police shut down The Daily News, a popular newspaper that was a harsh critic of President Robert Mugabe’s government. Its sister publication, The Daily News on Sunday was shut down as well.

In a press Statement, MIC chairman Tafataona Mahoso stated that the media house breached section 67, which stipulates that the commission must be informed of any changes in the titles, frequency and ownership of a licensed media house. Mr. Mahoso said the media house had failed to report material changes, failed to answer critical questions and misrepresented important information in an attempt to mislead the commission. He stated that as a result of these reasons, the newspaper would be shut down for a year, although the effective date of the ban was not made clear.

The publisher of the newspaper, Kindness Paradza, who is also a ruling party lawmaker, described the action by the MIC as “unjustified and unlawful.”

A court in Harare on Monday reserved judgment in the case. State Lawyer Johannes Tomana said he expected a ruling to be made mid-week.

The Tribune had ruffled feathers in Mugabe’s government, and Paradza himself had criticized Zimbabwe’s press laws in a recent address to parliament.

View the Worldpress Desk’s profile for Eugene Soros.