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Ending the news blockade
The launch of NewsDay in June 2010 was a landmark in Zimbabwe’s recent history: it ended President Robert Mugabe’s seven-year control of daily news.
With the appearance of NewsDay, for the first time since 2003 Zimbabweans had daily access to an alternative, objective source of news. The state-owned Herald had enjoyed a monopoly since the last independent daily was forced to close after a bomb attack.
Founded by Trevor Ncube – Zimbabwean journalist, entrepreneur and owner of South Africa’s leading investigative newspaper and website the Mail & Guardian (also an MDIF client) – with financing from MDIF, NewsDay quickly established itself in the market. NewsDay’s website is the most accessed local online platform on mobile devices in the country, and third overall after Facebook.com and Google.com. Opera Software’s latest State of the Mobile Web report ranked www.newsday.co.zw ahead of international sites like Twitter.com, Yahoo.com and YouTube.com. Its SMS news-delivery service, MobiNews, reaches more than 12 million Zimbabweans.
NewsDay provides quality journalism and critical comment across a range of platforms to people starved of unbiased information. Labelled “the most significant accomplishment of the power-sharing Government between President Mugabe and the Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, to carry out democratic reforms” by The Times of London, NewsDay has established itself as an indispensable source of news. NewsDay will play a crucial role in the democratic development of post-Mugabe Zimbabwe.
MDIF provided launch capital for NewsDay and for its publishing company to open a printing house in Harare, ensuring that the newspaper would not be reliant on state-owned printers. Since then, we have provided a range of management assistance and strategic advice to help develop the company’s print and digital business.