NICOSIA - The Central Bank yesterday caused a furore after a senior officer wrote in a leaked report that most journalists covering banking issues “don’t have a clue about the subject”.
And in a later statement of clarification, the Central Bank made matters worse by describing the extent of publicity given to the offending report as ‘exaggerated’.
“The Central Bank – under no circumstances – underestimates either the knowledge or adequacy of the Mass Media and proof of this is the thorough briefings provided to journalists on issues under its jurisdiction,” the bank said in the statement.
But the leaked report signed by George Georgiou, head of Governor’s Office, Communications and Budget, clearly said: “All forms of media in Cyprus (press, TV, radio and Internet) are highly politicised – not just in the ideological sense but also in terms of party allegiances.”
And he added: “Add to that the fact that most of the journalists writing on economic/banking issues don’t have a grasp of the subject.
This combination of ideology/party allegiances on the one hand and ignorance on the other is very challenging in terms of ensuring the accurate dissemination of information, and is particularly problematic for the CBC.” The full report, written in English, and published in daily Phileleftheros also claimed that the foreign media are ideological too.
“But, at least they are not aligned with specific political parties and, importantly, the journalists are specialists who understand their subject,” said the report.
The foreign media Georgiou was referring to included publications such as the Financial Times, The Economist, New York Times and the BBC.
He then referred to ‘obvious exceptions’ such as Britain’s tabloids The Sun and The Mirror and Germany’s Bild.
Georgiou wrote: “Regrettably, most of our newspapers are somewhere between The Sun, The Daily Mail and the Express in the UK, whose motto seems to be: ‘Never let the facts get in the way of a good story’. Our TV channels are not much better.”