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The BBC's Grant Ferrett
"Once again it seems that the courts are emerging the losers"
 real 28k

Thursday, 5 October, 2000, 17:54 GMT 18:54 UK
Radio shut down defended
Harare city centre
The radio station is in a city-centre hotel
The government in Zimbabwe has been explaining its decision to shut down the country's first private radio station, following a police raid overnight in which the equipment was taken away.

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo told a news conference in Harare that Capital Radio did not qualify for a licence to broadcast under new regulations decreed on Wednesday.

These stipulate that 75% of programme content should be Zimbabwean.

However, a BBC correspondent in Harare says the new regulations do not apply to the state radio.

Court ruling

Mr Moyo's comments follow a ruling by the courts that confiscated equipment should be returned and arrest warrants for the station's directors cancelled.

At the same time as the raid, armed police surrounded the homes of the station owners in the capital and Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo.

Daily News office after bomb explosion
Independent newspapers have been subject to violent attack
Capital Radio began operating last week after a court ruled against the state's monopoly on broadcasting.

The High Court said on 22 September that a government refusal to grant licences to independent stations violated the public's basic right to free expression and association.

Two stations began broadcasting, but so far no action has been taken against the second station, FM100.

Although Zimbabwe has several independent newspapers, radio is the most important source of information in a country where the majority of the population live in the impoverished rural areas.

The ruling party has kept a tight control on the state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, particularly the radio stations which broadcast in vernacular languages to the rural areas that have been their traditional stronghold.

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23 Apr 00 | Africa
Bomb attack on Harare newspaper
22 Sep 00 | Africa
Zimbabwe radio 'free for all'
19 Apr 00 | Business
Zimbabwe's economy under threat
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