Bloomberg look at the importance of press freedom for investors globally.
This piece was originally published on Bloomberg’s site, you can view it here.
Bloomberg journalists Iain Marlow and Isabella Steger take a deep dive into the importance of press freedom for the world’s economy. Select paragraphs included below, however, you can view the full piece here.
‘Global press freedom is under spectacular pressure. More journalists than ever were in jail last year and the number of media workers killed rose by a third compared to 2019, with Asia accounting for nearly half of those murdered.
‘With a crackdown on the world’s press comes a more challenging business landscape for investors. Restricted information flows can mask political and regulatory problems as well as potential fraud and corruption, raising the risks of doing business — particularly in more volatile emerging markets where good-quality information may already be scarce…
‘Cracking down on independent media limits not only political reporting, but also the flow of crucial financial analysis. The crisis unfolding at “bad bank” China Huarong Asset Management Co., within one of the world’s most restrictive media environments, shows how messy things can get.
‘The state-owned manager of distressed debt is struggling to make good on debts of nearly $40 billion — a pool large enough to touch the portfolio of almost every investor with exposure to Chinese bonds. But information about what is arguably the country’s most serious systemic financial crisis is shockingly limited, and the opaque political drama is almost impossible for outsiders to follow.
‘China has expelled dozens of foreign journalists in the past year by refusing to renew visas. With a rapidly shrinking pool of journalists able to report on the ground, some investors are relying on little more than rumors propagated on social networks such as WeChat. Concerns that bad-faith actors could be profiteering from the lack of transparency are on the rise.’