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Shuttered By State In 2003, Zimbabwe's Daily News Eager To Relaunch

Among indications that the beginnings of reform may be starting to stir in Zimbabwe is the possibility that the Daily News of Harare, shut down by the government's watchdog over media in 2003, could return to the country's newsstands before too long.

However, there is no shortage of skeptics who say that it may be asking too much to hope that the Media and Information Commission, which refused to grant a license to the Daily News four years ago, has sufficiently changed as to reverse itself.

Still, Acting Chief Executive Officer John Gambanga of the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, onetime publisher of the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday, said the group wrote to the MIC on Thursday asking it to schedule a licensing hearing.

Gambanga told VOA if the commission reverses itself and authorizes publication, the newspaper could hit the streets of Harare in about one week's time. He said the group has a printing press and can quickly rehire laid-off editorial and production staff.

After extended court action and deliberations in the government, Information Minister Sikahanyiso Ndlovu said this week that he had instructed the commission’s chairman, Tafataona Mahoso and board member Pascal Mukondiwa, to recuse themselves in the Daily News case. A court ruled early this year that the two had shown a bias.

Gambanga told reporter Patience Rusere that despite a harsh economic environment, Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe is raring to relaunch the newspapers.

Daily News co-founder and ANZ minority shareholder Wilf Mbanga, now publisher of The Zimbabwean, a weekly published from London, cautioned that the new media commission named last month may still harbor a bias against the publisher.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...