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Tribune closed

Gift Phiri

THE Media and Information Commission (MIC) yesterday shut down Africa Tribune Newspapers, publishers of The Tribune, for failing to report to the commission material changes in the paper’s shareho

lding structure.

Chairman Tafataona Mahoso said the MIC had with immediate effect cancelled the registration of The Tribune. Mahoso said the ban would remain in force for one year.

“The Media and Information Commission has with immediate effect cancelled the registration certificate for Africa Tribune Newspapers (Private) Ltd (ATN) which was issued in late 2002 in the company’s now discarded trading name of Media Africa Group (MAG),” said Mahoso in a press statement yesterday.

“The cancellation has been carried out in terms of Section 71 (1) (a) of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Chapter10: 27). It shall remain in effect for one year.”

Mahoso said the paper had failed to report material changes in terms of Section 67 of Aippa. He said the paper had failed to answer critical questions once the opportunity to do so was provided.

Mahoso claimed The Tribune had misrepresented important information “in an attempt to mislead the commission”.

“The MIC gave ATN the opportunity to explain its case four times in writing and two times in face-to-face meetings with the commission’s secretariat and with the commission itself, respectively,” said Mahoso.

A consortium of five managers acquired the Media Africa Group in April in a management buyout and changed the name of the company to Africa Tribune Newspapers. Mahoso threatened the paper with closure following the change of ownership saying the paper was publishing illegally as it was not registered under Aippa.

ATN proprietor Kindness Paradza yesterday said he had not seen any correspondence from the MIC.

“I am coming from Chinhoyi and I have not heard anything,” he said. “If that is the case we are going to seek legal recourse.”

Workers at the embattled paper’s production department last night said they were advised by The Tribune’s editor, Funny Mushava, to abandon work on the final pages of the paper.

Recently The Tribune has complained that it was under siege from ruling party politicians who were reportedly having differences with its publisher, Paradza, who is also Zanu PF MP for Makonde. Paradza has been attacked in the state media for, among other things, criticising Aippa.

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