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Tuesday, 10 October, 2000, 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK
Zimbabwe radio battle
Gerry Jackson has gone into hiding
Gerry Jackson's home is searched in Harare
By Grant Ferrett in Harare

Zimbabwe's first privately-owned radio station is preparing itself for a long battle through the courts after the government closed it down within a week of transmission.

Capital Radio took to the airwaves after a Supreme Court ruling last month overturned the government's monopoly of broadcasting and declared a radio "free for all".

gerry jackson
Gerry Jackson says she never knew the government was so paranoid

The government insisted that no one could broadcast without a licence, whatever the courts had decided.

The Monomotapa Hotel in central Harare was briefly the unlikely home for the secret offices of Capital Radio.

While it was closed down in a show of force, the authorities also raided the home of company director Gerry Jackson.

Government clampdown

Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo said that no one can simply allocate themselves a frequency and expect to get away with it.

Gerry Jackson herself has spent the last week in hiding and she knows she faces a long battle.

"I had no idea the government was this paranoid," the director of banned Capital Radio said.

The Daily News offices
The Daily News has had a long battle with the government
If a privately-owned radio station proves to be anything like as popular as the Daily News, then the government has good reason to be concerned.

Launched just 18 months ago, it outsells it state-run rival by almost two to one, providing an alternative view to that of the government.

The Daily News has first-hand experience of the ruling party's hostile attitude towards its critics in the media.

The Daily News offices were the target of a grenade attack during the recent elections.

The senior editor has received death threats and the journalists are regularly harassed by supporters of the ruling party.

The authorities are clearly in no mood to compromise. With presidential elections due in 18 months' time, it is extremely unlikely that the government will allow critical voices to take to the airwaves.

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See also:

09 Oct 00 | Africa
Mugabe opponent dodges arrest
02 Oct 00 | Africa
Police consider Tsvangirai arrest
06 Jul 00 | Africa
Profile: Morgan Tsvangirai
30 Sep 00 | Africa
Opposition warning to Mugabe
25 Sep 00 | Africa
Parliament: Disillusion sets in
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