The publisher of Zimbabwe's independent daily newspaper Newsday, and the weekly Independent paper, said Tuesday that his group is in compliance with the media laws after US cables released by Wikileaks highlighted a US nonprofit investor.
Alpha Media Holdings Chief Executive Raphael Khumalo said a US$3 million investment by the US-based Media Development Loan Fund had Reserve Bank clearance.
A US diplomatic cable released in the latest batch of disclosures by Wikileaks suggested that a majority stake in NewsDay was held by a foreign investor.
But Khumalo said that contrary to reports, the government knew of the foreign investor and said his group is in compliance with the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act which forbids foreign investment in the Zimbabwean media.
Khumalo said Vusumuzi Investments Private Limited of Zimbabwe holds a controlling 61 percent stake in Alpha Media, while the US nonprofit has but a 39 percent stake.
Khumalo said this shareholding structure does not violate Section 65 of AIPPA which forbids foreign investment because the US fund is a non-profit organization, not a "corporate entity" as the widely criticized legislation states.
The US fund has investments across the developing world.
Khumalo said NewsDay, which puts 52,000 copies on the street each day, became the first paper in Zimbabwe to attract external funds after the country adopted a monetary regimen of mixed foreign currencies, including the US dollar, in 2009.
"We made an application for exchange control approval which was granted by the relevant authority and we were clear about what the shareholding was going to be," Khumalo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube.