Zimbabwe's government-controlled Media and Information Commission (MIC) has
still to license the "Financial Gazette" weekly, almost a month after
the expiry of its two-year operating licence under the controversial
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), according to a release from the Media Institute of Southern Africa.
The editor of the "Financial Gazette", Sunsley Chamunorwa, confirmed that they have yet to have their licence renewed after lodging the requisite re-registration documents. Chamunorwa told MISA-Zimbabwe that he would only give details after their meeting with the statutory regulatory body, the MIC, on 1 February 2007.

On reports that the MIC was refusing to renew their licence, demanding that the newspaper first disclose its owners, Chamunorwa said he was not yet in a position to provide further details.

MIC chairman Tafataona Mahoso, however, reportedly confirmed to "Zim-Online" that his commission had not renewed the weekly's licence, but refused to divulge further details. "It must be known that it is not an automatic renewal, there are things that we look at . . . before granting a licence and we are still looking at their application," Mahoso said.

He added: "We are not saying they will get a licence or not." Newspapers renew their publishing licences every two years while journalists, who also require licences to practice, must renew theirs after every 12 months.

The weekly's general manager, Jacob Chisese, confirmed the paper was still to receive a new licence from the MIC. According to "ZimOnline", Chisese refused to disclose details for confidentiality reasons, but he expressed hope that his paper would soon have its licence renewed.

He said: "I can confirm we have not received our licence and we hope to get it as soon as possible like the others. Issues to do with licences are confidential so we cannot just go public over the matter because there are still issues we are clearing (with the MIC)."

For further information, contact Zoé Titus, Programme Specialist, Media Freedom Monitoring, MISA, Private Bag 13386 Windhoek, Namibia, tel: +264 61 232 975, fax: +264 61 248 016, e-mail: research@misa.org, Internet: http://www.misa.org