Jonathan Moyo shutters Daily News again

The Administrative Court once again allowed the Daily News, banned on 23 September, to resume publication but riot police prevented the paper from publishing.

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said the judge’s opinion was “blatantly political” and justified the police action saying the police implemented the law that the courts were only empowered to interpret.

The President of the Administrative Court Justice Selo Nare had allowed the paper to resume publishing on 19 December in line with another judgement buy his colleague Justice Michael Majuru on 30 November.

Nare said the paper should be allowed to continue publishing regardless of the appeal by the Media and Information Commission to the Supreme Court because the MIC would not suffer any potential or actual irreparable harm if leave to enforce the previous judgment was granted.

The Daily News would, on the other hand, suffer irreparable harm if it was not allow to continue publishing.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 03HARARE2454, GOVERNMENT SHUTTERS DAILY NEWS -- AGAIN

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE2454

2003-12-23 15:16

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HARARE 002454

 

SIPDIS

 

ECA/PE/V/F/E for RNEILSON AND ECONNOLLY

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER & D. TITLEBAUM

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

 

SENSITIVE

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PHUM SOCI PGOV KPAO KMDR ZI

SUBJECT: GOVERNMENT SHUTTERS DAILY NEWS -- AGAIN

 

REF: (A) HARARE 2309 (B) HARARE 1997 and previous

 

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. NOT FOR INTERNET POSTING.

PROTECT ACCORDINGLY.

 

1.   SUMMARY: Armed riot police prevented The Daily News

(TDN) from publishing following an administrative court

ruling December 19 permitting the paper to resume

operations. The developments confirm the government's

intention to keep TDN closed regardless of any court rulings

- at least until the Supreme Court rules on the case next

year. END SUMMARY

 

2.   The President of the Administrative Court, Justice Selo

M. Nare, handed down a judgment December 19 allowing

enforcement of the September 24 judgment made by

Administrative Court Justice Michael Majuru, which permitted

the TDN to publish after November 30 (reftels). Nare ruled

that the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe should be allowed

to publish notwithstanding the filing of a notice of appeal

in the Supreme Court by the Media and Information Commission

(MIC). Justice Nare found in favor for the ANZ on the basis

that the MIC would not suffer any potential or actual

irreparable harm if leave to enforce the previous judgment

were granted. Nare ruled that the ANZ stood to suffer

irreparable harm or prejudice if leave to execute pending

appeal was denied, and that the MIC appeal to the Supreme

Court was frivolous and vexatious.

 

3.   By its terms, the Nare ruling allowed TDN to resume

operations even as the MIC appeal wound its way through the

Supreme Court. ANZ legal advisor Gugulethu Moyo confirmed

to the embassy December 23 that the police responded swiftly

to the judgment by going to the TDN offices on December 19

to stop TDN from publishing. Moyo told us that ANZ wrote a

letter to the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Augustine Chihuri

on December 20 noting that the police were acting

unlawfully. The Commissioner has not yet responded to the

letter. Moyo does not anticipate that the Supreme Court,

which is in recess, will hear the MIC appeal until next

year.

 

4.   COMMENT: Like those before it, TDN's latest favorable

judgment has proven a dead end. Orchestrating government

efforts to eliminate the publication once and for all is

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, whose government-

controlled press continues to cast TDN as a key pillar of

British efforts to overthrow Mugabe. Characterizing the

judge's opinion as "blatantly political", the American-

educated Minister publicly justified the police's action by

ascribing to them responsibility for implementing law that

courts were only empowered "to interpret".   ANZ personnel

are increasingly despondent about the future of TDN and its

prospects of publishing in the near future. Asked about the

way forward, ANZ attorney Moyo responded only that further

legal action would be a "futile exercise" in view of the de

facto bar against publication.

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