Party poopers mount attacks

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THE patently false and malicious attacks on the Daily News and its associated entities by naysayers are escalating ever since the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe(Baz) issued six new television licences.

Following last week’s falsehoods peddled by online platforms — mostly run by discredited former State media editors — who claimed that the minister of State for Harare, Oliver Chidawu, was a shareholder in the newspaper, another online publication manufactured the latest blue lie yesterday that businessman Kuda Tagwirei owns the newspaper.

For the avoidance of doubt, especially for cub reporters who want to believe every Quill Club fable, Tagwirei is not — and has never been — involved with the paper, either directly or indirectly.

In its e-paper yesterday, the Zim Morning Post also claimed that Tagwirei is a shareholder in Modus Media — the publisher of the iconic and market leading business newspaper, The Financial Gazette.

Again, not true. Similarly, the paper also claimed that Tagwirei is a shareholder in Jester Media Services, the owners of the newly licensed 3K television station. This is simply not true.

Rather embarrassingly too, the paper also claimed that Modus Media is owned by Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe — the publisher of the Daily News. This is false.

The paper also claimed that documents in its possession showed that Modus Media had approached a local financial institution for funding for 3K TV. This didn’t require any investigation.

This public information is a normal, commercial relationship between Modus Media and its bankers of more than two decades — with the quoted bank letter contained in the 3K bid documents, as this was a requirement by Baz for all the companies which applied for a television licence.

How this becomes a scandal, and how this is connected to Tagwirei boggles the mind. Rather ridiculously, Zim Morning Post further claimed that “the Daily News’ application (presumably for a TV licence) coincided with a radical shift in the publications (sic) editorial policy” — adding, for good measure, that “The pro-government policy coupled with Tagwirei’s influence appears to have catapulted the publications’ TV licence application to land one of six slots on offer”.

This is false and defamatory, as it suggests that Jester Media Services won its openly and transparently tendered TV licence through devious and corrupt methods.

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For the record, Jester Media Services, Modus Media and 3K TV are wholly owned by one family that has long been invested in the media in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in the region. This information is in the public domain and requires no journalistic investigations — as this was contained in the bids for TV licences.

“Neither the shareholders nor the directors of Jester Media Services, Modus Media and ANZ (which publishes the Daily News) have ever met, let alone had any business or social dealings with Mr Tagwirei. “The malicious intentions by those peddling all these falsehoods are clear, and this is to impact negatively on the concerned businesses.

“A clear demonstration of this co-ordinated malice is that none of those who have written all these false stories have ever attempted to verify their misplaced claims with us. But it will be well,” a spokesperson for the shareholders said.

“Because the Zim Morning Post story went beyond the boundaries of incompetence and erroneous reportage, legal action will be taken against it. “The extreme fascination with our businesses is a source of major mystery for us, with many people, especially journalists — who should know these things — seemingly keen to donate shareholders to us,” the spokesperson added.

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