A very positive development in Zimbabwe:
Zimbabwe has an independent daily
newspaper for the first time in seven years after the launch today of NewsDay, which
aims to provide a counterpoint to state media that is fiercely loyal to
longtime president Robert Mugabe.
The paper's publisher,
Trevor Ncube, said it will not fall prey to "hate, divisiveness,
abhorrent propaganda and personality cults".
A new media licensing
authority formed by the coalition government has also approved two
other independent dailies that will start publishing soon. The last
independent daily was banned by Mugabe's government in 2003, allegedly
for bias towards his opposition groups now in the fragile power-sharing
Independent media is probably the most vital ingredient in sustaining any democracy and this step in Zimbabwe, while a small one, is significant. Under Mugabe, Zimbabwe has descended into deep poverty and despair, and the consistent attacks on the media and dissent has done real damage to opposition forces and any prospect for meaningful reform. Mugabe will no doubt do his best to smash the newspaper, but its existence is a sign that things are changing in Zimbabwe.