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U.S. Presses Zimbabwe to Allow Newspapers

September 15, 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The United States urged Zimbabwe’s government on Monday to allow the southern African nation’s only independent daily newspapers to resume publishing.

``We call on the government of Zimbabwe to permit the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday to resume publishing at once and to cease intimidation and harassment of the independent media,″ said Adam Ereli, deputy spokesman for the State Department.

The papers were shut down by police last week, accused of violating media laws by failing to register. They filed for accreditation with the state media commission on Monday.

Ereli said the United States was deeply troubled by the police raid on the newspapers’ offices.

``These actions are unwarranted infringements on press freedom and they are the latest incidents in a pattern of intimidation and violence directed against the local media,″ Ereli said.

In the past, Daily News executives said they refused to register as an act of protest against stringent new media laws. They said they viewed the media laws as an effort to stifle independent and foreign journalists and news organizations.

Since its launch in 1999, the Daily News has given a voice to critics of President Robert Mugabe’s 23-year rule, as Zimbabwe suffers its worst political and economic crisis since independence.

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