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Zimbabwe Bans Another Newspaper

Zimbabwean authorities have banned a fourth newspaper for flouting the country's tough media law.

The head of the government's Media and Information Commission late Friday announced that the license for The Weekly Times had been canceled for a year.

In a report in the state-controlled daily, The Herald, the commission chairman, Tafataona Mahoso said the weekly tabloid was being punished because, its "core values, convictions and overall thrust were narrowly political, clearly partisan and even separatist."

Mr. Mahoso says the paper had misled his commission in its license application by saying it would focus on development journalism. He says this had turned out to be what he called "a hoax."

The Weekly Times joins The Daily News, The Daily News on Sunday and The Tribune in being closed under the country's tough Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Journalists and opposition politicians have condemned the act, which President Robert Mugabe signed into law in 2002, as stifling freedom of expression.

The act requires publishing houses and journalists to register with the commission to operate in Zimbabwe. Dozens of journalists have been arrested for flouting the act though none has been convicted as yet.

An employee of The Weekly Times says the publisher of the paper has filed an urgent court application questioning the ban. He says this suspends the cancellation of the license and the staff is working on the next issue.

The paper's publishers or their lawyers could not be reached for comment.