Presentation on theme: "How to Write about Corporate Governance Prepared and Presented by Yasser Akkawi."— Presentation transcript:
How to Write about Corporate Governance Prepared and Presented by Yasser Akkawi
An active and informed media is essential in helping small investors and other affected stakeholders make informed decisions about corporations. Good governance is a fundamental element of a democratic society. The media sector provides oversight and strengthens a democratic system.
Management deals with daily operations, while Governance is about the underlying ethics of a corporation. Poor management can affect governance Weak governance undermines the financial and operational performance of a corporation Weak governance affects investors’ faith in the company.
Find out what information the company has actually submitted and ask the following questions: Are the reports accurate? Are the reports adequate? How easy is it for shareholders to access information? What is the company’s attitude toward shareholders and other stakeholders?
It is essential that every corporate governance story includes the basic elements of good journalism: Factual and accurate information Credible sources Jargon-free language Balance and fairness Time frame Context & background Implications & relevance The ‘so what’ angle
Serve our readers/listeners/viewers; Represent them when they cannot be present; Pay attention for warning signs; Find and tell the truth as far as you can; Expose problems/ fraud/ corruption/ negligence/ incompetence/ abuse of power; Act as an independent watchdog (especially where regulations or the legal system is imperfect or insufficient);
Challenge business people, politicians, regulators, and absolutely anyone involved Check inconsistencies in comments and claims Report views from all sides Compare and contrast different views Explain and give background Analyze the situation (with the help of resources)
For good corporate governance, a company’s leadership should be clear and transparent about how a company is run and how it is doing If the media does its job well, it will help make the situation more transparent; The media’s job is to ask questions and follow up the answers; Journalists must understand corporate governance issues to be effective
For balance ask a variety of different stakeholders their views on corporate governance questions; Stakeholders represent a wide range of sources for story ideas on CG; Build your knowledge. Think more about the issues around corporate governance and you may get more ideas for stories Corporate governance is a way to look for the root of a company’s problems
Company news is not just about reporting results and performance but also what happens within a company to achieve that; Its not just about strategy but how a company decided on that strategy; Highlight where transparency is lacking and privilege exists. Otherwise someone gets an unfair advantage, which is likely to be inefficient;
Highlight what differs in your country from internationally accepted good or best practice ( and ask why); See what laws/regulations/codes you don’t have in your country that others do and ask why not?; Discuss the relationship between the financial crisis and corporate governance issues - audience interest tends to increase when markets fall and companies crash
Highlight issues rather than the term “corporate governance” but begin to use the term in articles and explain what it means. Poor corporate governance can lead to: ◦ Corruption and Fraud ◦ Conflicts of interest ◦ Interference between family problems and the company ◦ Tax evasion or money-laundering ◦ Poor treatment of employees ◦ Disregard for the environment These are issues that affect all Yemenis
Examples and case studies are good ways to explain to your audience; People like reading about people. Humanize the corporate governance stories – how does this effect ordinary people?
Ask companies why they don’t follow accepted corporate governance ‘principles’ where others do; If a company is not submitting information to the public, ask them why not? Check the by-laws of a company – what do they require the company to do? Are they complying with their own rules?
See what’s changed from company’s previous annual report etc. what don’t they report or highlight any more? Have they changed focus and, if so, why?; Try to find people on the inside that will give you information – but beware legal problems; Raising questions at an early stage can warn people of potential problems before the authorities take action;
Try to influence governments and regulators to take necessary action; Probe to see if companies put action to their words about committing to good corporate governance Follow up/ monitor any promises of action; Make foreign investors, analysts, portfolio managers and active market players partners and contributors; Check relevant forums and blogs for clues Subscribe to specialist publications like Global Proxy Watch.
Corporate governance affects shareholders, workers, customers, suppliers, financiers concerned about investments, people with pension funds – you have to illustrate the impact. Executive excess. Greed. Power struggles Conflict between managers and owners (as well as other stakeholders)
Company Employees; Company Analysts; Former Employees; Company Advisors; PR Representatives; Industry Associations; Competitors; and Front-line Personnel.
Good reporting on business and economic trends can be found on: BBC at Business Week at The Economist at This offers some articles without a subscription. The Financial Times at (partial subscription) Reuters at The Wall Street Journal at (subscription only)