‘Journalists should be interested in financial markets’

Business News of Friday, 13 March 2015

Source: GNA

Bernard Otabil GNA Boss

Dr Bernard Otabil, General Manager of the Ghana News Agency (GNA) said on Thursday that journalists have an important role to play in promoting and policing the performance of financial markets.

He said information was key to the efficient functioning of financial markets, as those markets depended on information to operate efficiently.

“And that efficient market hypothesis that seeks to provide the sanctity and perhaps that trust for financial markets has at the centre, newsgatherers and information dissemination agents like you.”

Dr Otabil was making a presentation on money and capital markets at a programme jointly organised by PRINPAG and ECOBANK in Accra.

To illustrate the power of the word on stock markets, he recalled how the use of the word “Regrettably” on 9 January 1991 by then US Secretary of State, James Baker, after a meeting with the Iraqi ambassador in an effort to avert war had sparked a wave of selling, and how another statement in 1996 by Alan Greenspan, then Chairman of the US Federal Reserve Bank brought Wall Street share prices tumbling.

“That is the power of information. Aside statements that men in powerful positions have made to move the market, journalists have also had the opportunity to move financial markets many times over”, he said, adding that the Financial Times (FT) of London and Bloomberg are some of the reliable platforms for market participants.

Dr Otabil urged media practitioners to fully understand the financial market by devoting ample time to educating themselves on those markets.

“The world is changing fast, and finance, which is very pervasive in our everyday lives should be given serious attention”, he emphasised.

He expressed the hope that the programme would help the participants to see the complex nature of the financial market as well as equip them with the right skills to be able to contribute to a vibrant financial market in the country.

Dr Otabil urged journalists to use their various media to help address the problems confronting the country’s stock market.

They should particularly undertake investigative work that would help to expose or prevent insider dealings in the country’s stock market.

“Insider trading that involves people taking advantage of information that is not already known to the market for profit, has threatened even the most advanced and sophisticated markets”, he emphasised.