An important article by Bloomberg, “Investors Are Ignoring a Dangerous Crackdown on Press Freedom,” recently caught my eye. I’d recommend reading the whole story, but a few things stood out to me:
- “More journalists than ever were in jail last year and the number of media workers killed rose by a third compared to 2019”
- “When a newspaper closes, the local government’s borrowing costs rise because diminished scrutiny makes investors less comfortable,” according to a 2019 Journal of Financial Economics report.
- Press freedom is now part of the ESG (Environmental, Society, & Governance) framework for some forward thinking investment companies such as Allianz SE and BNP Paribas SA.
Journalists in jail are up about 175% since 2000
There are some very large economies with very restricted press freedom.
Onclusive data shows that media coverage of both ESG Investing and Press Freedom have been increasing since February of this year and coverage appears to be lightly correlated.
A healthy, free press is a foundational part of healthy, free societies. To learn more about supporting press freedom, you may consider Committee to Protect Journalists or Reporters Without Borders among other organizations.