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A Study on Economic News Coverage in Bangladeshi Newspapers

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Abstract

Background: In recent years, various studies have raised the issue of economic progress in Bangladesh. Therefore, the government's various economic steps for the development of Bangladesh next year are very significant. The development of a country depends on its economy. The media has a big role to play in keeping the economy dynamic and strong. Various media information about the economy helps the government and the people to make any decision. Method: The study of mixed-mode has been conducted through content analysis. As a research sample, two well-known dailies of Bangladesh, Prothom Alo and The Financial Express have been selected as the medium of purposive sampling. Media Political Economy is the theoretical framework of this research. Result: The results show that the two newspapers have a total of 235 pieces of economic news. 64% of the news is straight news and 36% in-depth news. Although Prothom Alo has done most of its investigative reporting on various irregularities, it has focused on remittances, import-export, and the banking sector. And The Financial Express covers in-depth news on development, investment, prospects, and energy. The economic news coverage of The Financial Express was better than Prothom Alo. However, Bangladesh is going through a critical period in terms of economy, the two newspapers should have published more economic news with in-depth news. Although there are some reports about irregularities in the country's financial sector, the amount of information and coverage is not enough. Conclusion: The media plays the role of a watchdog of society. Many financial irregularities in the country will be stopped if the media monitors various issues of the financial sector impartially and actively. The role of media is essential for the economic prosperity of the country.
IOSR Journal of Humanities And Social Science (IOSR-JHSS)
Volume 26, Issue 7, Series 7 (July. 2021) 32-39
e-ISSN: 2279-0837, p-ISSN: 2279-0845.
www.iosrjournals.org
DOI: 10.9790/0837-2607073239 www.iosrjournals.org 32 |Page
A Study on Economic News Coverage in Bangladeshi Newspapers
Md. Uzzal Talukder1, Md. Shamim Hossain1
1 Lecturer, Mass Communication & Journalism Discipline, Khulna University, Khulna-9208, Bangladesh.
Summary:
Background: In recent years, various studies have raised the issue of economic progress in Bangladesh.
Therefore, the government's various economic steps for the development of Bangladesh next year are very
significant. The development of a country depends on its economy. The media has a big role to play in keeping
the economy dynamic and strong. Various media information about the economy helps the government and the
people to make any decision.
Method: The study of mixed-mode has been conducted through content analysis. As a research sample, two
well-known dailies of Bangladesh, Prothom Alo and The Financial Express have been selected as the medium of
purposive sampling. Media Political Economy is the theoretical framework of this research.
Result: The results show that the two newspapers have a total of 235 pieces of economic news. 64% of the news
is straight news and 36% in-depth news. Although Prothom Alo has done most of its investigative reporting on
various irregularities, it has focused on remittances, import-export, and the banking sector. And The Financial
Express covers in-depth news on development, investment, prospects, and energy. The economic news coverage
of The Financial Express was better than Prothom Alo. However, Bangladesh is going through a critical period
in terms of economy, the two newspapers should have published more economic news with in-depth news.
Although there are some reports about irregularities in the country's financial sector, the amount of information
and coverage is not enough.
Conclusion: The media plays the role of a watchdog of society. Many financial irregularities in the country will
be stopped if the media monitors various issues of the financial sector impartially and actively. The role of
media is essential for the economic prosperity of the country.
Keywords: News Coverage, Political Economy, National Development, Economic News, Newspapers.
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Date of Submission: 09-07-2021 Date of Acceptance: 24-07-2021
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I. INTRODUCTION
At present, the economy is the main driving force of the world. The state and the way of life cannot be
thought of without the economy. That is why Aristotle says, “Man is a political and economic creature (Abbate,
2016). Economics has had an unbroken relationship with a man since ancient times. Everything in the world,
including politics, society, and culture, now depends on the economy (Streeck, 2011). The more economically
strong a country is, the more developed it is. The economy is a fact in the world. The economy plays a major
role in the quality of life and overall development of a country (Diener & Suh, 1997). Economics is closely
linked to every sector of society, including the media. Media is one of the ways of education. Through the
media, we get information about different aspects of society. This information helps us to understand and know
something. If we want to know different aspects of a country's economy, we have to follow the media of that
country. Media refers to newspapers, television, radio, etc., but there are more opportunities to present
something in detail in a newspaper. Economic news is one of the different types of news. Newspapers publish
news on various aspects of the economy every day.
Bangladesh is a developing country. In 2024, Bangladesh will go from a low-income country to a
middle-income country (Bhattacharya, 2019). Bangladesh's economic progress is good among the South Asian
countries. Bangladesh is currently the 40th largest economy in the world (Star Business Report, 2020). Day by
day, Bangladesh is surpassing the neighboring countries in per capita income (Express News, 2021). So at
present, the news of Bangladesh's economy is very important inside and outside the country. A country's
economy can be understood by the media including the banking sector, stock market, inflation, trade, and
commerce. Surveillance is one of the tasks of the media. The media has to monitor all aspects of society.
Economics, in particular, is an issue that, if there is any mistake or irregularity, one has to face huge national
losses. Therefore, the media has to highlight all the small and big issues of the economy. Any change in the
policy of the economy or any unusual event has to be disclosed immediately. Because people can know all the
information about various economic problems, solutions, errors, irregularities, corruption, possibilities through
A Study on Economic News Coverage in Bangladeshi Newspapers
DOI: 10.9790/0837-2607073239 www.iosrjournals.org 33 |Page
the media. So economic news coverage is very important. The more the news of the economy is spread, the
more people will know about the economy. That is why newspapers have to do more analytical and explanatory
news about economics. If people have information and knowledge about economic issues, people will be able to
take the right and appropriate decisions and the government will also be able to take the right steps. Therefore, it
is necessary to know the economic news coverage of the newspapers of Bangladesh. The data and results of this
study will help government and media policymakers to make various decisions and actions on economics.
II. LITERATURE REVIEW
The economic news of the media has been researched in many countries around the world. Rippey
shows that economic and business news is one of the most important news items in Pennsylvania, but
newspapers cannot report adequately and accurately due to a shortage of reporters and pressure from advertisers
(Rippey, 1978). Sari points out that religion has an impact on the making and framing of economic news in the
Papua region of Indonesia (Sari, 2016). Fogarty mentions that business news coverage does not cover all parties,
and business news reflects competition and election issues (Fogarty, 2005). Harrington finds out that televisions
give more coverage when the economy is good or bad, and those election years do not cover the negative
economy (Harrington, 1989). Ju’s study examines whether negatively skewed economic news coverage and its
influences on public perception of the economy can be demonstrated in South Korea (Ju, 2006). Goidel &
Langley find that, overall, the media tend to follow negative economic conditions more closely than positive
economic conditions. In addition, news coverage appears to be strongly related to aggregate public evaluations
of the economy, even after controlling for real economic conditions (Goidel & Langley, 1995). These studies
have been conducted outside Bangladesh and there are variations in the findings of the studies. This study has
been conducted to know the situation of the economy in Bangladesh and various economic news coverage.
III. MATERIALS AND METHODS
This study is conducted in a mixed-mode method. Qualitative explanations of quantitative data have
been presented in the study. In qualitative discussion, both deductive and inductive methods have been applied.
The study is conducted through content analysis. The content analysis method is a well-established research
method. This method is very popular in newspaper research. In addition to the media, a method is used for
research in other branches of knowledge. The Content Analysis method is the process of selecting content and
reading or finding it. After reading and systematically measuring the economic news of the newspaper, they
have been analyzed (Neuendorf, 2017). There are two parts to the content analysis method such as Quantitative
content analysis method and the Qualitative content analysis method. This study will use both quantitative and
qualitative methods of content analysis. Different quantities and numbers of economic news have been extracted
through quantitative content analysis and qualitative content analysis has analyzed the qualitatively different
aspects of quality. Prothom Alo and The Financial Express were selected for the study. All pages of the 10 days
from 1 to 10 July 2014 have been taken as a sample of the research. The number of newspapers has been
selected through purposive sampling. In Bangladesh, the budget is announced in June, so the amount of news
related to finance may be more in July, so the first ten days of July have been taken. The Financial Express is
one of the leading English language newspapers in Bangladesh and Prothom Alo is one of the leading Bangla
newspapers in Bangladesh. In the study, 240 pages of 10 days of The Financial Express and 200 pages of 10
days of Prothom Alo were taken as samples for content analysis.
IV. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
The political economy theory of the media has been used as a theoretical framework for research. What
is now called "economics “that’s at first it was known as "political economy". Until the nineteenth century,
economics was discussed within the confines of political economy. Political economy is that which relates to the
income and expenditure of any production process. In 1815, The French writer Antoine de Montchrestien first
coined the term "political economy"(Haider & Samin, 2014). Many individuals have contributed to the
development of the concept of political economy. However, this idea takes on a new dimension from the
thought consciousness of Karl Marx. Many more are enriching this idea later on. According to Marx, economics
governs the politics, culture, and social affairs of a society. The economy is the basis of everything. The
economy determines what politics, culture, and social issues will be like (Baudrillard, 2019). With this concept,
the entire economy, starting from media ownership, is analyzed. Vincent Mosco linked the theory to the media.
So he is considered the father of the political economy of communication. According to Mosco, political
economy is the study of social relations. In particular, it is the scripture of power relations; which is related to
the cooperation of production, distribution, and consumption including communication resources (Wasko et al.,
2011). According to Robert W. McChesney, the political economy of communication or the media and precisely
its ownership, supportive techniques, and government policies help (McChesney, 2008). This theory has been
used to understand the different topics, types, and aspects of economic news coverage of the two newspapers.
A Study on Economic News Coverage in Bangladeshi Newspapers
DOI: 10.9790/0837-2607073239 www.iosrjournals.org 34 |Page
V. RESULT & DISCUSSION
As a result of the research, the two journals have highlighted different topics, types, and aspects of
economic news through documentaries, and analysis. In ten days, a total of 235 economic news items were
found in the two newspapers. Prothom Alo had 69 news items, and The Financial Express had 166 news items.
Grap-1: Total News Items
News by page: First page, last page, Bishal Bangla page, Artha , and Banijya page, Sara Desh page, Bidesh
page, , and, Rajdhani page have the total economic news of Prothom Alo newspaper. On the other h, and, The
Financial Express has total news on the first page, last page, stock, and corporate page, trade, and market page,
trade , and commodities page, , and other economic news.
Prothom Alo
Page Name
Number of News
Financial
Express
Page Name
Number of
News
First page
7
First page
17
Last page
4
Last page
9
Bishal Bangla
2
Stock , and
Corporate
31
Artha , and
Banijya
41
Trade , and Market
57
Sara Desh
3
Commodities
25
Bidesh
2
Others
27
Rajdhani
1
Total News
69
Total News
166
Table-1: Page based economic news coverage data
According to the data in Table 1, The Financial Express has twice as much economic news as Prothom
Alo. Prothom Alo has seven pages, and The Financial Express has eight pages of economic news. Prothom Alo
has the highest number of 41 economic news on the Finance, and Commerce page, and The Financial Express
has the highest number of 57 economic news on the Trade, and Market page. However, the first, and last pages
of both newspapers have important economic news. , and there is some analytical news on the inside page. But
most of the plain news is on the inside pages.
News on various economic issues: Both newspapers have covered various important issues in the economy. It
has reported on imports, and exports, stock market, commodities, energy, budget, economic corruption, and
irregularities, garment industry, employment, remittances, debt, economic inequality, taxes, aid, and many more.
29%
71%
Total News Items
Prothom Alo
The Financial Express
A Study on Economic News Coverage in Bangladeshi Newspapers
DOI: 10.9790/0837-2607073239 www.iosrjournals.org 35 |Page
Grap-2: Different types of economic news of the two Newspapers
As can be seen from the information in Table 2, the newspaper has covered two different economic issues. The
Financial Express has more economic news than Prothom Alo. The two news outlets focused on import-export,
stock market, commodities, energy, debt, aid, and irregularities. The Financial Express has the most news on
investments in 30, and Prothom Alo has the most news on commodities in 10.
Different types of economic news: There are different types of news in newspapers. Five types of news have
been noticed in the two newspapers. Analytical reports are more effective than plain news to know, and
understand, and any subject.
Grap-3: Different types of news
As can be seen from the information in Table 3, the amount of plain news is highest in the two
newspapers. There is only one interview in the two newspapers. The Financial Express is full of developmental,
investigative, and analytical news. However, the amount of news in Prothom Alo was comparatively less.
6
4
8
10
5
1
6
3
2
6
4
4
2
3
5
14
24
30
20
17
3
9
2
3
7
13
2
8
12
2
DIFF ERE NT TY PES OF ECONO MIC NE WS O F
THE T WO NEW SPAP ERS
Prothom Alo
The Financial Express
39
15
6
8
1
111
23
13
19
0
0 20 40 60 80 100 120
STRAIGHT
DEVELOPMENT
INVESTIGATE
ANALYTICAL
INTERVIEW
Different types of news
Financial Express
Prothom Alo
A Study on Economic News Coverage in Bangladeshi Newspapers
DOI: 10.9790/0837-2607073239 www.iosrjournals.org 36 |Page
Grap-4: Straight News, and In-depth News Percentage
The two newspapers have more straight news, and less in-depth news. The total number of straight news is 150,
and in-depth news is 85.
The Average amount of news: Between 1, and 10 July 2014, the total number of news items on economic
issues in Prothom Alo was 69. On average, 6.9 news items are printed in the newspaper every day. The total
number of economic news items on The Financial Express was 166. An average of 16.6 news items is printed in
the newspaper every day.
Grap-5: Average News percentage
News page-based coverage: Prothom Alo had almost 7 news items in one, and two columns on the front page
in 10 days. The newspaper never did lead news centering on the economy. , and the magazine has 4 news on the
last page. The rest of the jump news is on the 5th, and 6th pages inside. , and most of the news was on pages 12,
and 13 because these two pages were finance, and commerce pages. The Financial Express has been in the lead
in economics all day for ten days. Every day 60 percent of the front page of the newspaper is published on
economics. There were also three special pages: Trade, and Markets, Stocks, and Corporate, and Trade, and
Commodities. These pages vary in the number of news from day to day but 8-10 news items are printed on these
pages every day. However, there was no economic news on the last page of the newspaper.
National, and International Economic News: Prothom Alo has given more importance to national news. The
newspaper had 90 percent of the national economic news, and 10 percent of the international news. Of the 69
news, 6 were international economic news, and the remaining 63 news were national economic news. One of the
features of The Financial Express is that it covers international economic news with great importance. The
amount of national economic news was 80 percent, and the amount of international economic news was 40
percent. Of the 166 news items, 34 were international economic news, and 132 were national economic news.
Photo coverage with the news: Prothom Alo had 8 pictures with economic news in ten days. , and the pictures
are in 1 column or 2 columns. Pictures were not printed with too much space. A total of 60 pictures were printed
on The Financial Express. Prints an average of 6 pictures in ten days. The newspaper had 6 pictures in three
columns, and the rest were 1/2 columns.
64%
36%
0% 0%
Straight News Vs. In-depth News
Straight News
In Depth News
29%
71%
0% 0%
AVERAGE ECONOMICS NEWS
Prothom Alo
Financial Express
A Study on Economic News Coverage in Bangladeshi Newspapers
DOI: 10.9790/0837-2607073239 www.iosrjournals.org 37 |Page
Economic News Theme Analysis: Here in Prothom Alo, and The Financial Express, a total of 235 news items
have been analyzed in 15 categories of economics.
1. Import-Export News: Both the newspapers had developmental, investigative, and simple news on import-
export. In the first light, Mango, Jute, and Lemon production, and export will increase if any kind of problem is
solved. Prothom Alo has given investigative news on various initiatives, and steps of the government to export
jute. The problems of the people associated with jute are highlighted here. The Financial Express has also
covered the issue of export of various products including shrimp, and vegetables.
2. News about stocks: In Prothom Alo, most of the news about the stock market is plain news. However, there
have been a couple of investigative reports on stock market problems. There have been highlights of various
problems in the stock market. The Financial Express magazine is very popular for its stock market information.
Magazine. It shows various data, and surveys of national, and international stock markets. The stock highlights
various up-, and-down newsletters.
3. Investment News: Prothom Alo reports on EPZ investments. The report shows that investment will increase
employment, and the country's economy will move forward. In addition to the newspaper, the news on
investment in India has also been published with importance. In The Financial Express, there is a lot of coverage
about investing. The newspaper dominated the news of foreign investment but there was also news of the
domestic investment. The investment newspaper of foreign companies has focused more.
4. Commodity News: In Prothom Alo, this type of news was mainly investigative. Here are the reasons why the
price of a commodity has gone up, and then gone down. Here we have tried to find out which parties are
responsible for the price increase. The impact of price rise, and the suffering of the people have also been
highlighted. The Financial Express also reports on rising prices for essential commodities. There have been
reports of the sudden rise in prices of various products on special occasions. In addition, the magazine publishes
several news items on American products.
5. News on Fuel: Prothom Alo has published analytical news on energy based on recent information. It mentions
various steps taken by the government to advance energy. In The Financial Express, energy news is the most
important thing. But mostly simple news. In the magazine, there was multiple important news analytics. The
newspaper has placed more emphasis on foreign energy news. In the Middle East, the news of rising, and falling
oil, and gas prices has become more important. The newspaper has also published the news of various countries'
subsidy on fuel.
6. Budget News: In Prothom Alo newspaper, there was news budget. Budget is a big issue in the economy. The
newspaper has given an analytical report on the first budget of the Modi government. The Financial Express
also does some analytical news on the budget in India.
6. News of economic irregularities: In Prothom Alo, most of the news of economic irregularities have been
printed on the front page of the magazine. Most of these were investigative news. In the news, details of various
irregularities, and allegations has been given. In The Financial Express, news items such as embezzlement,
corruption, and debt default have been highlighted. The reports have highlighted various aspects of the negative
impact of irregularities on the society.
8. News about garment industry: In Prothom Alo magazine, simple news about garment industry has been
published. The Financial Express publishes simple, and analytical news about the garment industry. The reports
focus on the importance of the garment industry in Bangladesh's economy.
9. News on employment: Prothom Alo, and The Financial Express have published investigative reports on
employment. Various issues have been raised in the reports on the problems, solutions, and possibilities of job
creation.
10. News on remittances: In two newspapers, the economy of Bangladesh has highlighted various issues of
remittance, one of the most promising sectors. The huge contribution of remittances to the country's GDP has
been highlighted in the reports. Semi-educated, and uneducated workers from Bangladesh go abroad but if
educated, and trained workers went abroad, they could contribute more to the country's GDP. The report
addresses all issues related to remittances.
11. News on Debt: In two newspapers, various interpretations, and analysis of foreign, and domestic debt have
been presented. In the reports, the negative effects, and bad consequences of debt have been shown in different
aspects. The trend of non-repayment of loans has again raised the issue of interest, and conditions of foreign
loans. In addition to analytical reports, there was plain news about debt.
12. News on income inequality: In two newspapers, it has reported on economic inequality. On the one h, and,
the rich are getting richer, and on the other h, and, the poor are getting poorer. The two journals are analytically
reporting various facts, and figures of inequality. The report highlights the growing inequality. , and various
arguments have been made in favor of the need for a solution.
13. Tax News: In the two newspapers, the different rules of the tax have been explained. Tax system reform has
been reported. It has also been reported that the country's tax increase for economic prosperity. The more money
that can be earned from taxes, the more it can be spent on development. Analytical reports on various aspects of
taxes are published in newspapers.
A Study on Economic News Coverage in Bangladeshi Newspapers
DOI: 10.9790/0837-2607073239 www.iosrjournals.org 38 |Page
14. Foreign aid issues: In two newspapers, foreign aid issues have come up with importance. Foreign aid is
taken in the country's budget every year. There are different conditions with foreign aid. These conditions
increase the dominance of foreigners. The magazine has made two analytical reports with information, and
surveys on these issues. Foreigners should come out of these aids to keep the country's economy dynamic, and
uninterrupted. Foreign aid is not good for the long term. These issues have come up in the reports.
15. Prospects Branch of Economics: The magazine has two different reports on different potential sectors like
information technology, mobile banking, online marketing, and marine resources. The future of the new type of
economy is better than the old type of economy. Same in the coming days these emerging sectors will lead the
economy. So the government, and foreigners should invest in these sectors. Analytical reports have raised these
issues.
V. DISCUSSION
In the newspapers, most of the economic news was plain news. Simple news can mean something
simple. But many complex issues of the economy cannot be understood by simple news. Explanatory, and
analytical reports are needed to understand, and these aspects of economics. Newspapers should provide more
explanatory, and analytical reports on economic issues. The medium of explanatory, and analytical reporting is
reported with a lot of information. These reports are more effective in knowing, and understanding economic
issues. There are many aspects of society in the economy. Our daily life, national, and international is all
connected with the economy. So you have to be constantly updated about the economy. People need to know
about all the big, and small decisions, laws, policies, and changes of the economy. But it is not enough that
newspapers cover the 15 categories of economics. The size of the news was not as big as the newspaper column.
Most of the news coverage has been given with little space in the newspaper. Many more issues, big, and small,
of the economy should have been reported. Banks, insurance, agricultural economics, e-commerce, freelancing,
and other important, and promising economic issues could be reported. The more news about the economy, the
more people will know about the economy. Therefore, for the progress of the country's economy, newspapers
need to give news coverage on more topics. News coverage of 15 categories of newspapers is also not enough. It
is not enough to understand, and the information, interpretation, and analysis of the 15 categories of news. There
should be more, and more research reports on economic issues. Reports should be made in such a way that
reading that report gives a complete idea of a subject. It is necessary to publish negative news about the
economy as well as developmental news. Negative news must contain information, and evidence so that the
authorities can take action. , and the news of the success of the economy needs to be spread more , and more
because if these are promoted, people will be encouraged to do economic work. Of the two newspapers, The
Financial Express has the highest rate of economic news, and Prothom Alo has the lowest. Prothom Alo is one
of the leading Bengali newspapers in Bangladesh. The rate of economic news in Bengali newspapers should be
increased. Most of the people in this country read Bangla Newspaper so there is no alternative to Bangla
Newspaper to disseminate any information properly. People need to know more, and more news in Bangla to
know the economic issues of this country. The Financial Express is an English language magazine. This
magazine does more news on economics. News in English is needed to attract foreign investors. But the
mainstay of the country's economy is the people of that country, so Bengali newspapers should be given more
coverage. Newspapers should be encouraged, and sponsored by the government to print more economic news. ,
and since media policymakers work from news selection to printing. Therefore, for the welfare of the country, it
is necessary to forget all their interests, and publish more objective, and neutral economic news.
VI. CONCLUSION
The economy is an important issue nationally, and internationally. The media is inextricably linked
with the rise, and fall of the economy. It is the job of the media to properly present various information about the
economy. The media has to do this actively with the people in mind. Through the newspaper, the economic
information of a country can be known by the people of the country, and abroad. Therefore, media publicity is
also needed for the progress of the country's economy. Positive, and negative objective news will be helpful for
both the people, and the government. Because a lot of unknown information comes to the fore through the
media again, the media simply presents many complex issues. To decide the economy, one has to know various
national and international information. This information is known through media especially newspapers.
Therefore proper news coverage of the newspaper is important. All kinds of economic news, big, and small,
have to be printed with importance. When something is published in a newspaper, people think it is believable.
Therefore, the role of newspaper news for national economic progress cannot be underestimated. Government,
and media policymakers need to focus on printing more economic news. The economy is the key to national
development, so in the national interest, economic issues should be given more importance in the newspapers as
well.
A Study on Economic News Coverage in Bangladeshi Newspapers
DOI: 10.9790/0837-2607073239 www.iosrjournals.org 39 |Page
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Md. Uzzal Talukder, et. al. A Study on Economic News Coverage in Bangladeshi Newspapers.IOSR
Journal of Humanities and Social Science (IOSR-JHSS), 26(07), 2021, pp. 32-39.
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