When businessmen want to shut up a newspaper they usually resort to the laws of libel – but one Mozambican entrepreneur this week though he could literally buy the silence of the weekly paper "Zambeze", according to a report by the Mozambican news agency AIM.
According to "Zambeze" journalist Luis Nhachote, a businessman of Pakistani origin, Mohamed Macsud Ayoob, on Wednesday sent his employees to the printing company Cegraf to buy all the copies of this week's issue of the paper before it could hit the streets. They then scoured the streets of Maputo looking for any copies that had escaped and were in the hands of street sellers.
"Zambeze" claims a print run of 10,000, and has a cover price of 20 meticais. Buying the entire print run would cost 200,000 meticais (about 8,300 US dollars). Apparently such sums are not a problem for Macsud Ayoob.
The laws of supply and demand then kicked in. Realising that this week's edition of the paper had suddenly become extremely rare, the street sellers asked more money for the few copies that had escaped Macsud's men. According to Nhachote, on Thursday the paper was being sold for prices of up to 100 meticais each.
"Zambeze" reacted to the sudden demand just by printing more copies, and by Friday morning it was back on the streets.
It was assumed that Macsud wanted to stop people reading the paper because he features heavily in it. "Zambeze" has been running a series of articles on drug trafficking in Mozambique, and accuses Macsud Ayoob of involvement.
Click here to read the full report, posted on allafrica.com.