A magistrate has acquitted four directors of Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, publisher of the banned Daily News and Daily News on Sunday.
The four were facing charges under the country’s draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and contempt of court after publishing the Daily News on 24 October last year.
Sam Nkomo, Rachel Kupara, Stuart Mattinson and Brian Mutsau were cleared on Monday after magistrate Lilian Kudya said there was no primafacie evidence that the four had wanted to commit any crime against the state.
The issue of the Daily News had been published a day after the Administrative Court ruled that Zimbabwe’s Media and Information Commission was not properly constituted and that a properly constituted MIC was supposed to issue ANZ with a licence by November 30, 2003.
Kudya also acquitted ANZ as a company for publishing the same newspaper.
ANZ chief executive Nkomo, hailed the judgment as a victorious step in his company’s fight to get the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday back on the streets. “This judgment is significant in that our company and its directors have been absolved of any wrongdoing. The publication of our newspapers was not and will never be criminal,” said Nkomo.