Newspaper Executive Arrested
They were questioned over the price increases at Harare Central Police Station where they explained that the high costs of newsprint, film, printing plates and fuel necessitated the increases...
20 November 2007
Chisese was accompanied by Hama Saburi, the editor-in-chief of the Financial Gazette.They also pointed out that the state-controlled Herald had been given permission to raise its prices despite receiving subsidized fuel and operating from the central business district which did not experience the perennial power cuts.
The police then asked the two executives to sign a “memorandum of warning” that they would not increase cover prices of their publications without permission. The two only signed the memorandum after taking advice from their lawyers as they risked spending the weekend in custody if they did not comply.
The police also threatened to slash the cover prices to the ones obtaining before the increases were effected if they refused to sign the memorandum.
In June this year the government forced private and state businesses to cut their prices by at least half, in an attempt to control runaway hyperinflation, currently at 8,000 per cent a year.
Most businesses were forced to sell goods for less than it cost to source them. Shop and supermarket shelves were emptied in a few weeks and the country is still struggling with critical shortages of all commodities.
Iden Wetherell the Zimind’s group projects editor said: This is a vexatious interference with the business of publishing and a threat to the viability of our newspapers given the rapidly escalating print costs which the government had done little to control.”