Nyarota fired


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The editor of the Daily News Geoff Nyarota was fired and his deputy Davison Maruziva who had been asked to step in as acting editor resigned in protest against Nyarota’s dismissal.

Sam Nkomo, chairman of Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, the parent company of the Daily News said Nyarota had been fired by the board with immediate effect but did not give the reasons for the dismissal.

According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, Nyarota said he had resigned for the good of the paper.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 02HARARE2891, MEDIA REPORT: NYAROTA FIRED; HARARE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE2891

2002-12-31 13:32

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HARARE 002891

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/PDPA FOR DALTON, MITCHELL, SIMS AND AF/S

NSC FOR JFRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: KPAO ZI

SUBJECT: MEDIA REPORT: NYAROTA FIRED; HARARE

 

REF: HARARE 2616

 

1.   Geoffrey Nyarota (52), award-winning Editor-in-Chief

of the “Daily News,” has been fired by the newspaper’s

board of directors. His deputy, Davison Maruziva, who had

been asked to step in as acting editor by management, has

also resigned in protest against Nyarota’s dismissal.

Circumstances leading to Nyarota’s separation from

Zimbabwe’s only independent daily newspaper are still

murky, but seem to be linked to an ongoing labor dispute

between journalists and management.

 

2.   In today’s paper, Sam Nkomo, chairman of Associated

Newspapers of Zimbabwe (parent company of the “Daily

News”), states that Nyarota was terminated by the board

with immediate effect, but fails to provide a reason for

his dismissal. According to the BBC, Nyarota denies having

been fired and says he “resigned for the good of the

paper.” Many sources say that Nyarota’s dismissal has to

do with an ongoing strike by the paper’s staff, who are

seeking a 150% cost of living salary increase. The “Daily

News” has been crippled by the industrial action, failing

to produce a paper December 21 – 30, 2002.

 

3.   In March 1999 Nyarota, together with other local and

foreign investors, launched the “Daily News,” a newspaper

that now has the highest circulation in Zimbabwe. The

paper has generally lived up to its motto of “telling it

like it is.” Its principled, tenacious, independent style

of journalism has earned praise at home and abroad.

Nyarota himself has been the recipient of numerous

international awards, including the World Association of

Newspapers’ annual press freedom award in May 2002.

Despite death threats, arrests and the bombing of his

newspaper’s printing press in January 2001, Nyarota

continued to publish articles critical of the Mugabe

administration. Under his stewardship, the newspaper

incurred the wrath of the government of Zimbabwe, which has

accused it of being a mouthpiece for the opposition

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), a charge Nyarota

strongly denies.

 

4.   The Daily News is back on the streets today, printing

for the first time since December 21. Today’s paper is

however far shorter than usual (only 12 pages) and has

very little advertising. Today’s edition breaks the story

of Nyarota’s dismissal and announces a new editorial team

to be lead by John Gambanga, Acting Editor. Nyasha

Nyakunu, has been elevated to the position of News Editor

with immediate effect. Other appointments include Tendayi

Nyakunu as Assistant Editor, Pedzisayi Ruhanya as Deputy

News Editor, and Bill Saidi as Managing Editor. Both

Gambanga (April 1999) and Nyakunu (September 2002) are

former participants in the Department’s International

Visitor program.

 

5.   Comment: The “Daily News” is the second of Zimbabwe’s

four independent newspapers to undergo an editorial shake-

up in the past six weeks. The highly respected weekly

“Financial Gazette” lost veteran editor Francis Mdlongwa in

late November after a change in ownership of the paper’s

parent company. (See reftel for additional details.)

Readers will be watching both the “Daily” and the “Fingaz”

for signals that the either paper’s fiercely independent

editorial stance has shifted under new leadership.

 

 

WHITEHEAD

 

(19 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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