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New Sunday Times in legal hurdle

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A PLANNED regional newspaper, to be called the New Sunday Times, run by Namibian and Zimbabwean state media houses, looks to have hit a snag.

elvetica, sans-serif”>The weekly newspaper, which aims at countering the influence of foreign media, is accused of stealing the name of a known South African publication.

South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper has taken legal steps against the Namibian and Zimbabwean publishers to block the use of its name, while the publishers were unsure whether the new publication would be on the streets as originally planned.

Although it is meant to be a Sunday paper, the publishers initially said it would hit the streets on July 1, a Thursday.

Three months ago, Namibia’s New Era Publication Corporation and Zimbabwe’s Zimpapers signed a cooperation agreement to pave way for a regional newspaper to “counter the threat of the global media to African values”, as they said in a statement.

Reports coming from South Africa indicate that attorneys acting for the SA Sunday Times have written to New Era and Zimpapers, warning them that any use of the name New Sunday Times would constitute an infringement of the South African newspaper’s rights to the regionally well-known trademark.

The head of Namibia’s government-owned New Era newspaper, Protasius Ndauendapo, on Monday confirmed to The Namibian that he had received a letter from the lawyers of the Sunday Times a month ago.

“They (Sunday Times lawyers) just brought to our attention that their client was claiming ownership of the name… and that we should not use the name,” he said.

Ndauendapo said he did not want to comment further on the issue.

“Our lawyers have responded. But it is difficultto say anything now,” he said.

Plans to launch the regional publication by Namibia and Zimbabwe have already raised a few eyebrows in the region with critics in neighbouring countries describing it as a “Mugabe and Nujoma propaganda tool”.

Assistant editor of Zimbabwe’s state-run Herald newspaper, Moses Magadza, will edit the New Sunday Times, assisted by a staff member from Namibia’s New Era. During its initial stages the new newspaper will depend on articles from New Era and Zimpapers, but it is ultimately expected to become “independent”.

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