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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 October, 2003, 15:49 GMT
Zimbabwe newspaper boss held
Daily News poster - Saturday 25 October
The paper went on sale on Saturday without a licence
A director of Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper, the Daily News, has been arrested at his home.

Washington Sansole was detained a day after the paper's offices were closed by police for a second time this year.

On Saturday, the paper went on sale again for the first time in six weeks, after a court ruled the authorities were wrong to refuse it a licence.

A police spokesman said Mr Sansole would be charged with operating a media business without a licence.

This is the latest setback for the Daily News, which is known for being highly critical of President Robert Mugabe and his government.

Other directors

Mr Sansole was arrested at his home in Bulawayo on Sunday morning.

The newspaper's legal advisor, Gugulethu Moyo, said the police wanted to interview the other eight company directors.

"They are holding him on charges of publishing without a licence, and they are saying they will hold him until the other directors turn themselves in," she said.

Senior assistant police commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena denied they were holding Mr Sansole until the others were apprehended, although he did say police were keen to interview them.

Licence denied

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 early in September.

The Daily News offices in Harare
The newspaper says media regulations are invalid
Within hours, police had closed the premises and arrested 18 journalists working on Sunday's edition. They were later released without charge.

The authorities said Friday's court ruling did not give them permission to start publishing.

The paper's lawyers disagreed, saying the ruling rendered media regulations invalid.

Under controversial legislation introduced last year, all newspapers must apply for a licence through the state's Media and Information Commission (MIC).

In September, police seized computer equipment and closed down the Daily News offices after a ruling by the supreme court that the paper was operating without a licence.

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

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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