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Tuesday, 23 April, 2024

Financial journalists should enrich their knowledge of financial matters

Zafar Wazed, DG, PIB
  08 Oct 2023, 00:00

I'd like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to THE BANGLADESH EXPRESS as it embarks on its remarkable 30-year journey. What began as a bi-weekly magazine back in 1994 has, in a splendid metamorphosis, evolved into a national daily in 2021. This incredible transformation owes its success to its readers and patrons' unwavering support and media-loving spirit. They share a profound belief that exceptional journalism holds the power to transform our world. Throughout its illustrious history, The Bangladesh Express has consistently raised the bar in financial and public journalism through its Credit Ratings on 22 commercial banks in 2000 which was appreciated by the then Governor of Bangladesh Bank and its remarkable publications on the dialogues of Bank CEOs on hard industry topics since 2016. Its commitment to providing in-depth, professional reporting, independent market analyses, and fostering constructive dialogues between policymakers, market players, industry leaders, and regulators has left an indelible mark. Notably, it has pioneered the concept of special publications, a groundbreaking innovation within the realm of the country's financial journalism.

I am absolutely exhilarated to discover that a gathering of distinguished bankers, influential newspaper editors, and vigilant banking and market regulators has been convened for a pivotal discourse entitled "The Banking & Financial Sector Reform: The Influence of Media and the Precious Freedom of the Press." This event, meticulously organized by BJFCI, sets the stage for what promises to be a captivating dialogue which is an opportunity for all of us as the trust is established by dialogue. I trust that the distinguished bankers and esteemed newspaper editors will engage in a comprehensive exploration of the pivotal roles played by journalists in the transformation of the financial sector over the past decade. This evolution owes its success to the implementation of prudent prudential policies and the rigorous oversight of regulatory authorities, with journalists emerging as indispensable contributors to this process.

Financial topics are undeniably intricate, prompting me to touch briefly upon the realm of financial journalism. The dynamic interplay between economic reporting and expectations remains an evolving frontier, with economists yet to forge a unanimous consensus. Financial journalists often find themselves under scrutiny for perceived shortcomings, such as a penchant for superficiality, a dearth of investigative rigour, and the prioritization of inappropriate news values. They are sometimes chided for their perceived lack of scepticism. A primary catalyst for these critiques is the ever-increasing complexity of financial subjects, surpassing many journalists' training, education, and skillsets. This complexity presents a formidable barrier to their meaningful contribution to corporate governance. Additionally, the sources from which journalists draw their information often have vested interests, granting access with conditions that align with their agenda.

It's imperative to acknowledge that these criticisms are rooted in the assumption that financial journalists should fulfil an independent "watchdog" role. However, it's essential to recognize that this viewpoint is far from universally embraced, even among journalists themselves. Some may argue that the core issue lies in the escalating complexity of markets or in insufficient funding for journalism. Moreover, there is the possibility that business and financial journalists do not perceive their role in the same light as their political counterparts. Many may view their mission as simply providing market-relevant information to interested investors rather than engaging in a broader "public interest" reporting mandate.7

In his illuminating Keynote Paper, Mr Faruk Ahmed, the Editor of THE BANGLADESH EXPRESS astutely alluded to the knowledge deficit that underpins distortions in financial reporting. I agree with his observation. This knowledge deficit critically impacts the media's ability to craft accurate and ethically sound stories concerning banking and finance. It is imperative that journalists possess the necessary proficiency to align their work with the tenets of journalistic ethics and principles. In this regard, the collaborative synergy between bankers and editors emerges as a pivotal factor. To address this knowledge gap effectively, journalism departments within universities and institutions should emphasize the importance of financial journalism. Teaching methodologies should extend beyond mere adherence to the conventional "4-Ws" theories. Journalists must acquire a deep understanding of financial assets and liabilities, as well as a comprehensive grasp of how financial markets operate. Relying solely on experts' testimonies or the words of bankers and investors without rigorous fact-checking and data verification should be strongly discouraged in the production of financial reports.

The importance of economic and financial journalism is increasing day by day in Bangladesh as the country is marching fast towards its goal of becoming a middle-income economy by 2040. In this journey, a sound and efficient banking system and a transparent financial market are crucial which can be ensured by a conducive regulatory environment. Here the media can play a pivotal role, with financial journalists serving as crucial watchdogs. Financial journalists should enrich their knowledge of financial matters as the shaping and delivery of information to investors can yield vastly different financial outcomes. Consequently, the relationship between information and finance has become intricately nuanced, marked by a dual complexity. This has given rise to an ongoing debate and lack of consensus regarding the media's role in both financial crises and subsequent reform efforts.

At PIB, we are trying to improve the basic reporting of journalists mostly those who are working in remote areas. As the pattern of journalism has changed, the new trend has ushered in. We must continuously train journalists to keep up with that trend. Changes are considered; training programs are suited to the changes. Recently conducted data journalism training is a step towards that change. We also introduced training programmes on health care, food safety and security, gender issues, climate change and other contemporary issues for journalists working in Dhaka and other parts of the county.

Apart from the training programmes PIB has introduced some academic programs like a master's programme on journalism, a post-graduate diploma programme under the affiliation of National University and an online certificate course on journalism. In the election manifesto of 2018, PIB was focused with regard to enhancing professionalism by way of training the journalists and engaging the journalists in investigating reporting by means of the Right to Information Act and ensuring the safety of journalists and news workers while discharging duties.

For the rapid development of mass media and information technology in the country, the government has allocated money to PIB's training sector. The Institute has so far conducted 1294 training courses for 37, 202 journalists across the country It also joined the e-learning platform with the assistance of Access to Information (A2i) of the government. PIB has a rich library which is being used as a resource centre for media personnel and for leisure-time reading of appropriate materials. It is made available to support and enhance learning and understanding and to encourage library users to become independent, life-long learners. We are planning to focus more on financial journalism courses to empower journalists to contribute more to the banking and financial sector reform process. Here collaborative approach from the bankers and the editors will highly be anticipated.

Comments

Message From The Chief Guest / Fake news is a big threat in the field of Social Media Journalism
Message From The Special Guest / Journalists play an impressive role in capital market reform process
Dialogue of Bankers, Editors & Regulators / THE FINANCIAL SECTOR REFORM: The Roles of Media & Press Freedom
Is MFS really a game changer for poor?
Media might be the key educator on crime risks, and informed consumers

Financial journalists should enrich their knowledge of financial matters

Zafar Wazed, DG, PIB
  08 Oct 2023, 00:00

I'd like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to THE BANGLADESH EXPRESS as it embarks on its remarkable 30-year journey. What began as a bi-weekly magazine back in 1994 has, in a splendid metamorphosis, evolved into a national daily in 2021. This incredible transformation owes its success to its readers and patrons' unwavering support and media-loving spirit. They share a profound belief that exceptional journalism holds the power to transform our world. Throughout its illustrious history, The Bangladesh Express has consistently raised the bar in financial and public journalism through its Credit Ratings on 22 commercial banks in 2000 which was appreciated by the then Governor of Bangladesh Bank and its remarkable publications on the dialogues of Bank CEOs on hard industry topics since 2016. Its commitment to providing in-depth, professional reporting, independent market analyses, and fostering constructive dialogues between policymakers, market players, industry leaders, and regulators has left an indelible mark. Notably, it has pioneered the concept of special publications, a groundbreaking innovation within the realm of the country's financial journalism.

I am absolutely exhilarated to discover that a gathering of distinguished bankers, influential newspaper editors, and vigilant banking and market regulators has been convened for a pivotal discourse entitled "The Banking & Financial Sector Reform: The Influence of Media and the Precious Freedom of the Press." This event, meticulously organized by BJFCI, sets the stage for what promises to be a captivating dialogue which is an opportunity for all of us as the trust is established by dialogue. I trust that the distinguished bankers and esteemed newspaper editors will engage in a comprehensive exploration of the pivotal roles played by journalists in the transformation of the financial sector over the past decade. This evolution owes its success to the implementation of prudent prudential policies and the rigorous oversight of regulatory authorities, with journalists emerging as indispensable contributors to this process.

Financial topics are undeniably intricate, prompting me to touch briefly upon the realm of financial journalism. The dynamic interplay between economic reporting and expectations remains an evolving frontier, with economists yet to forge a unanimous consensus. Financial journalists often find themselves under scrutiny for perceived shortcomings, such as a penchant for superficiality, a dearth of investigative rigour, and the prioritization of inappropriate news values. They are sometimes chided for their perceived lack of scepticism. A primary catalyst for these critiques is the ever-increasing complexity of financial subjects, surpassing many journalists' training, education, and skillsets. This complexity presents a formidable barrier to their meaningful contribution to corporate governance. Additionally, the sources from which journalists draw their information often have vested interests, granting access with conditions that align with their agenda.

It's imperative to acknowledge that these criticisms are rooted in the assumption that financial journalists should fulfil an independent "watchdog" role. However, it's essential to recognize that this viewpoint is far from universally embraced, even among journalists themselves. Some may argue that the core issue lies in the escalating complexity of markets or in insufficient funding for journalism. Moreover, there is the possibility that business and financial journalists do not perceive their role in the same light as their political counterparts. Many may view their mission as simply providing market-relevant information to interested investors rather than engaging in a broader "public interest" reporting mandate.7

In his illuminating Keynote Paper, Mr Faruk Ahmed, the Editor of THE BANGLADESH EXPRESS astutely alluded to the knowledge deficit that underpins distortions in financial reporting. I agree with his observation. This knowledge deficit critically impacts the media's ability to craft accurate and ethically sound stories concerning banking and finance. It is imperative that journalists possess the necessary proficiency to align their work with the tenets of journalistic ethics and principles. In this regard, the collaborative synergy between bankers and editors emerges as a pivotal factor. To address this knowledge gap effectively, journalism departments within universities and institutions should emphasize the importance of financial journalism. Teaching methodologies should extend beyond mere adherence to the conventional "4-Ws" theories. Journalists must acquire a deep understanding of financial assets and liabilities, as well as a comprehensive grasp of how financial markets operate. Relying solely on experts' testimonies or the words of bankers and investors without rigorous fact-checking and data verification should be strongly discouraged in the production of financial reports.

The importance of economic and financial journalism is increasing day by day in Bangladesh as the country is marching fast towards its goal of becoming a middle-income economy by 2040. In this journey, a sound and efficient banking system and a transparent financial market are crucial which can be ensured by a conducive regulatory environment. Here the media can play a pivotal role, with financial journalists serving as crucial watchdogs. Financial journalists should enrich their knowledge of financial matters as the shaping and delivery of information to investors can yield vastly different financial outcomes. Consequently, the relationship between information and finance has become intricately nuanced, marked by a dual complexity. This has given rise to an ongoing debate and lack of consensus regarding the media's role in both financial crises and subsequent reform efforts.

At PIB, we are trying to improve the basic reporting of journalists mostly those who are working in remote areas. As the pattern of journalism has changed, the new trend has ushered in. We must continuously train journalists to keep up with that trend. Changes are considered; training programs are suited to the changes. Recently conducted data journalism training is a step towards that change. We also introduced training programmes on health care, food safety and security, gender issues, climate change and other contemporary issues for journalists working in Dhaka and other parts of the county.

Apart from the training programmes PIB has introduced some academic programs like a master's programme on journalism, a post-graduate diploma programme under the affiliation of National University and an online certificate course on journalism. In the election manifesto of 2018, PIB was focused with regard to enhancing professionalism by way of training the journalists and engaging the journalists in investigating reporting by means of the Right to Information Act and ensuring the safety of journalists and news workers while discharging duties.

For the rapid development of mass media and information technology in the country, the government has allocated money to PIB's training sector. The Institute has so far conducted 1294 training courses for 37, 202 journalists across the country It also joined the e-learning platform with the assistance of Access to Information (A2i) of the government. PIB has a rich library which is being used as a resource centre for media personnel and for leisure-time reading of appropriate materials. It is made available to support and enhance learning and understanding and to encourage library users to become independent, life-long learners. We are planning to focus more on financial journalism courses to empower journalists to contribute more to the banking and financial sector reform process. Here collaborative approach from the bankers and the editors will highly be anticipated.

Comments

Message From The Chief Guest / Fake news is a big threat in the field of Social Media Journalism
Message From The Special Guest / Journalists play an impressive role in capital market reform process
Dialogue of Bankers, Editors & Regulators / THE FINANCIAL SECTOR REFORM: The Roles of Media & Press Freedom
Is MFS really a game changer for poor?
Media might be the key educator on crime risks, and informed consumers