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English Cricket Tour of Zimbabwe Gets Green Light

The government of Zimbabwe has announced it has lifted a ban on 13 British journalists who were due to cover the 10-day English cricket tour.

The English and Wales Cricket Board has given the 10-day tour of Zimbabwe by the English cricket team the go ahead. The tour had been thrown into doubt after the Zimbabwean government denied 13 journalists traveling with the team permission to cover the tour. The English threatened not to go ahead with the tour if the journalists were not allowed into Zimbabwe.

The English cricket authorities stopped their team from boarding their Harare bound flight on Wednesday as they negotiated with the Zimbabwean authorities to get the journalists accredited.

But the first of five matches the English are supposed to play against Zimbabwe scheduled for Friday is now off because the team arrives in Harare that day. It is not clear when and if it will be rescheduled. The second one-day match is schedule for Sunday.

The English confirmed they would fly to Harare after Zimbabwe's Minister of Information, Jonathan Moyo, announced the lifting of the ban.

The state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation quoted Mr. Moyo as saying the delay in accrediting the journalists was due to them supplying insufficient information. He said the delay could have been avoided if the journalists had supplied all the required information to get needed credentials.

But on Wednesday, George Charamba, a senior official in Mr. Moyo's office said the reporters had been denied accreditation because they were not bonafide sports journalists. He accused them of having been consistently hostile to the government of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe's strict media laws bar foreign journalists from working in the country and Zimbabwean journalists must apply to a government appointed commission for a license to operate.