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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 October, 2003, 22:22 GMT 23:22 UK
Zimbabwe's Daily News shut down
Daily News poster - Saturday 25 October
The paper went on sale on Saturday without a licence
Police closed the offices of Zimbabwe's only independent daily, the Daily News, less than a day after it had reopened.

Eighteen journalists were detained in the raid, the newspaper's lawyer said.

With a front-page headline saying "We're back", the daily went on sale on Saturday, for the first time since it was shut down by police six weeks ago.

On Friday, a court ruled that the authorities were wrong to refuse the bestselling newspaper a licence.

The paper has not yet been given a licence, but its lawyers say the ruling renders media regulations invalid.

The government-appointed Media and Information Commission (MIC) has said it will appeal against the ruling delivered on Friday by the Harare Administrative Court.

The Daily News is known for being highly critical of President Robert Mugabe and his government.

'Illegal operation'

An editorial in Saturday's newspaper called on the authorities to repeal strict media laws, which critics say were designed to stifle the press.

"The truth was that these people were and are still obsessed with muzzling the independent media," reads the editorial.

The newspaper was shut down by police early in September after the Supreme Court ruled it was operating illegally because it had not registered with the MIC.

The commission then denied the Daily News a licence, saying it had missed the deadline for applications and had also failed to supply the commission with free copies of the paper, as required under the law.

But in Friday's ruling, the judge said the commission had not been properly constituted invalidating all its actions to date.

The court has now ordered the MIC to issue a licence by 30 November.


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