Zim's Newspaper Staff Released

The paper is set to be put on sale on Monday (7 June).

Owners of the new paper also publish the Zimbabwe Independent and Standard.

In a surprise twist of events the four employees from the media’s distribution arm, Munn Marketing, were arrested in central business district while distributing the new newspaper. The four and the truck laden with copies of the newspaper were detained at Mbare’s notorius Matapi Police Station.

“We do not know why they have been arrested,” a source from the newspaper said. “But I think it’s because we distributed the paper for free.”

The arrest had left the media industry shaken at a time when there is talk of media reforms.

“We were thinking that we are in a new era but this action is shocking and a quick reminder to everyone that we are still in the dark era,”
said a worker from the newspaper group.

Police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena had said he was not aware of the arrests

The Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) licensed four daily newspapers on May 25 ushering a new era in the Zimbabwe media industry.

The papers that were registered are the Daily Gazette owned by Reserve Bank Governor Gedion Gono, News Day owned by Trevor Ncube who already runs the Zimbabwe Independent, Standard and South Africa’s Mail and Guardian, Daily News owned by Associated Newspapers Zimbabwe, The Mail and The Worker, which is owned by a group of youths who are funded by the Zimbabwe Youth Empowerment Fund but operating under the name Front Line venture.

However the other newspapers have not yet announced when they would start publishing.

The new newspapers now face the hurdle of attracting the finest journalists, most of whom are working as freelance journalists for foreign media. Apart from this they will also face the battle to win the hearts of advertisers in a country whose industry is almost non-existent.

Zimbabwe journalists have complained about the presence of Tafataona Mahoso at the new ZMC since he was involved with the defunct Media Information Commission that was responsible for the closure of several papers and arrest of many journalists. Journalists have also expressed concern that new newspapers and journalists were being licensed under the same oppressive media laws that caused the closure of several newspapers and the harassment of journalists.