Registration of newspapers and journalists began Tuesday with officials from the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) saying several media houses had handed in their applications.
The registration process is taking place at the old Media and Information (MIC) offices behind the Rainbow Towers hotel. Apparently, the MIC secretariat has been retained to process the applications and Tafataona Mahoso is still the boss.
An official at the ZMC offices in Harare said they had that morning alone received several applications from media houses wishing to set up newspapers.
The official refused to divulge the exact number of applications saying: “We have received applications from media houses and journalists but we have not yet started looking at them. There is a lot of excitement because it has been a long time since people were waiting for this.”
The newspapers expected to be registered by the ZMC include NewsDay, owned by Trevor Ncube’s Alpha Media Holdings (AMH).
AMH, the publishers of the Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard, say the long wait for the group’s daily paper, NewsDay may soon be over.
AMH chief executive officer, Raphael Khumalo said: “It’s a major development. After having waited for two years to get a license for NewsDay, it’s now a matter of time before we can get the go-ahead to start publishing.”
Deputy Minister of information and Publicity, James Timba, while welcoming the new development in the media industry, said media freedom was not a “gift” from the government but was a basic right.
Timba said the ZMC was an independent body and should therefore desist from the habit of always inviting his boss Webster Shamu, the information Minister, George Charamba, the information ministry’s permanent secretary and him to its programs.
Timba said the ZMC’s independence would be compromised if they continued involving politicians in their programmes.