Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said the Daily News was operating illegally because it was not registered in terms of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Its journalists were also not accredited as required by the law.
The Daily News was challenging the constitutionality of the Act in the Supreme Court.
Viewing cable 03HARARE232, INFORMATION MINISTER SAYS DAILY NEWS IS “ILLEGAL”
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS HARARE 000232
DEPT FOR AF/PDPA FOR DALTON, MITCHELL AND SIMS
NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR NEARY
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: INFORMATION MINISTER SAYS DAILY NEWS IS “ILLEGAL”
¶1. In the continuing legal battle between the Associated
Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), publishers of the independent
daily “The Daily News,” and the government of Zimbabwe over
the mandatory registration of media houses and
accreditation of journalists under the controversial Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA),
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, in his opposing
affidavit filed in the Supreme Court this week, has accused
the newspaper of “operating illegally.” To date, the
newspaper has neither applied for registration nor
instructed its journalists to apply for accreditation at
the government-controlled Media and Information Commission.
ANZ filed an urgent application in the Supreme Court “to
declare invalid and devoid of legal effect, sections of the
Act which infringe on the rights of freedom of expression,
association and compulsory acquisition of property provided
for in the Constitution.” The Chairman of the Media and
Information Commission, Tafataona Mahoso, has also filed an
opposing affidavit in support of the Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo. No date has been set for the hearing of the
¶2. Meanwhile two international news agencies, Reuters and
Agence France Press have obtained accreditation for their
bureaus and news staff in Zimbabwe. They submitted their
fees in United States dollars, as demanded by the Media and
Information Commission. The Associated Press (AP) declined
and closed its bureau, but retained two correspondents.
Zimbabwean correspondents for foreign media have been
advised by their lawyers that paying in American dollars
would violate exchange control regulations – which bar
Zimbabwe citizens and permanent residents from paying a
Zimbabwean body such as the Media Commission in foreign
currency. The Media and Information Commission is yet to
decide on the way forward in terms of the payments issue.
Under AIPPA all those who have been refused accreditation
must cease practicing or risk being arrested.