Appeal by Zimbabwe's banned Daily News set for this Friday

The banned Daily News is hoping to hear on Friday if it will be allowed to resume publishing in Zimbabwe.

The independent newspaper was closed down last month after police occupied its offices in Harare and confiscated computer equipment.

The Daily News has since been trying to overturn a decision by the country’s Media Information Commission which has stopped the paper being published by denying it an operating licence. On Friday the Administrative Court will rule on an application by the paper’s owner, Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, which has appealed against the MIC’s decision not to allow the paper to be registered.

Lawyers for the Daily News have argued that the MIC was not properly constituted and had been biased against the newspaper. Directors and journalists of the paper have been accused of breaking the law by working for a paper not registered under the country’s draconian media laws, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Meanwhile, there has been international outcry following human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa’s claims that she was assaulted by police. Mtetwa, who has represented many journalists, including Guardian correspondent Andrew Meldrum, said she was brutally attacked by police after calling on them to help protect her from car thieves.

Meldrum won a number of court battles but was eventually expelled from Zimbabwe.

This week Labour MP Kate Hoey raised the case of both The Daily News and the attack on Mtetwa in an adjournment debate in the House of Commons.

South Africa’s Foreign Minister, Nkosazana DlaminiZuma, will face protests when she attends this weekend’s conference in London to mark the 10th anniversary of the end of apartheid. The protest is planned by the End the Silence Coalition, which is calling on the South African Government to break its silence on human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, including the closure of the Daily News, and condemn the escalating violence.

By Jon Slattery

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