The local chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa has described the closure of MalawiÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Chronicle Newspaper as a very sad event, writes Samuel Makaka.
Speaking to Journalism.co.za, Misa national director Innocent Chitosi said that the paper had contributed greatly to the democratisation process in Malawi.
The owner and managing editor of the Chronicle, Rob Jamieson, said his paper had to close in January because of what he said was the continuous poaching of his staff by the Guardian Newspaper, widely believed to be owned by State House.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œState House has been stealing my reporters because my paper is critical of government faults and by taking away my strong reporters the Chronicle is weakened,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â he said.
He said he was formulating a plan to make sure this problem does not recur when he begins publishing again.
In responding, Guardian editor Chikumbutso Ntumodzi said: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t steal other peopleÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s employees, we employ those who apply and qualify for the jobs regardless of where they come from.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Chitosi commented that in a free market economy anyone can employ anybody.
He added that there are several unemployed journalists as more people have been trained than the market can absorb.
Asked to comment on rumours that he has closed the paper because he intends joining politics, Jamieson said: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI cannot rule out that possibility but I am not seriously considering that at the moment. And it is not true that I have stopped publishing because my interest is in politics.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
He said many politicians use their papers for political purposes so there was no need for him to stop publishing his paper.