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Zimbabwe journalists’ trial delayed

Publish date: 15 June 2005
Issue Number: 1357
Diary: Legalbrief Today
Category: Media

Forty-five journalists of the banned newspaper, The Daily News, will now go on trial only on October 12.

The reporters’ trial was supposed to begin this week, but a busy court schedule was blamed for the delay, reports ZimOnline. The journalists were charged by the state last year for practising without a licence from the government’s Media and Information Commission. But only 21 were summonsed at the weekend to appear for trial in a case in which they face up to two years in jail if convicted. Four newspapers have been forcibly shut down while more than a hundred journalists have been arrested by the government since 2002 for breaching various clauses of the tough Press Act. None has been convicted to date. Full report in ZimOnline

The media is also under fire in Sudan, where Reporters sans Frontiers has criticised the Khartoum High Court\'s recent decision to withdraw the Khartoum Monitor newspaper\'s licence, forcing it to close. ‘The government has the audacity to proclaim its support for democratic principles, yet it responds to the least bit of criticism in the press with police surveillance and draconian court rulings,’ the organisation said. One of Sudan\'s three independent dailies, the English-language Khartoum Monitor had been closely monitored by police since May 21, with each issue subject to careful vetting by state security agents before it was printed. On that day the paper\'s offices were raided by state security police who demanded the withdrawal of a report and an editorial about deadly clashes between anti-riot police and civilians from the south and the western Darfur region in a camp for displaced persons south of the capital. Full report by RSF