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Zimbabwe Denies Accreditation to <i>Daily News</i> Journalists - 2004-02-10

Journalists working for Zimbabwe's largest independent newspaper, The Daily News, learned Tuesday that they will not be granted accreditation by the government's Media and Information Commission. The commission's chairman says journalists will not be allowed to work in their profession, while they continue to be employed by an unlicensed newspaper.

Media Commission Chairman Tafataona Mahoso told the government-controlled Herald newspaper that because The Daily News has been refused a license to publish, its journalists cannot be accredited either.

The Daily News is Zimbabwe's largest independent daily newspaper, and it is critical of President Robert Mugabe's administration.

Under sweeping media laws, the government has made it a criminal offense to work as a journalist in Zimbabwe without a license.

Last week, the Supreme Court upheld the licensing law, and said the media legislation does not violate freedom of speech guarantees in the constitution.

The government ordered The Daily News to stop publishing in September because it did not have a license. After a series of court cases, the newspaper won the right to reopen on January 22, although it still does not have a license.

After the Supreme Court ruling last Thursday, the newspaper stopped publishing while its journalists applied for licenses.

The legal adviser to The Daily News, Gugulethu Moyo, says lawyers are preparing a new case for the High Court, asking it to uphold previous orders allowing the newspaper to re-open and to confirm that journalists can start work again, once they have applied for licenses.