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2008年5月30日 (金)


05/30/2008 --The Asahi Shimbun, May 29(IHT/Asahi: May 30,2008)

EDITORIAL: Insider trading at NHK


In a report on insider trading by three former employees of Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK), a third-party panel had harsh words for the organization's corporate culture.

The gist of the report that analyzed the cause and background of the incident is as follows: The former employees lacked professional awareness. NHK lacks risk management based on compliance, and its system to protect information is inadequate. The broadcaster lacks a sense of crisis as a media organization.



gist=要点、骨子 発音注意:ギストではなくてジストと発音される)


The three former employees engaged in insider trading using exclusive information that NHK had obtained. The data was stored on an in-house computer system prior to being broadcast. The investigation showed that the three individuals were involved in 22 additional shady stock transactions.



They told the third-party investigation that they felt little compunction about trading stocks using pre-broadcast media information. We were shocked to hear this.


In another surprising revelation, as many as 81 employees were found to have engaged in stock trading during work hours.

However, the panel said those people apparently did not engage in insider trading.


At least one employee had traded stocks an average of more than seven times a day during the past three years covered by the investigation.


Many of those who made frequent transactions had access to NHK's news information system.


It is natural that the panel warned that "it is very dangerous for people in the news media to also be investors."


The investigation, which covered some 13,000 employees of NHK and affiliated organizations, revealed many problems.


What we find particularly problematic is the fact that approximately 1,000 people, accounting for one-third of those who said they or their families had stocks, refused to cooperate in the investigation.


Perhaps they thought there was no reason to cooperate when they had done nothing wrong. We can sort of understand that way of thinking. Still, we have to say they apparently do not share the sense of crisis that public trust in NHK is wavering.



Of the large number of employees who said they do not own stocks, we cannot dispel our suspicions that some may have lied.



This is because a number of people changed their stories and denied having stocks when they learned that the investigation panel would delve in trading histories.



After the incident came to light in January, NHK implemented a series of preventive measures. These included prohibiting employees involved in news coverage from selling stocks within six months of buying them.


The panel proposed stricter measures, such as a complete ban on stock trading for employees involved in news coverage and continuous production of programs to follow up on the incident.


On the same day, another third-party panel released a report aimed at reflecting the opinions of viewers on NHK programs and organization.


According to the report, over the last two years, viewers who said they "trust the organization and management of NHK" steadily increased and reached 45.6 percent in March. For the first time, the ratio topped that of viewers who said they do not trust NHK at 44.1 percent.


But the results of the investigation on stock trading are sure to come as a letdown for viewers who said they trust NHK.



With such a careless attitude, NHK could prove to be the excuse that causes politicians to intervene. Freedom of the press could be threatened.


NHK executives and employees need to seriously ponder the points raised by the third-party panel and rebuild the organization without delay.




--The Asahi Shimbun, May 29(IHT/Asahi: May 30,2008)

朝日新聞 5月29日号 (英語版 2008年5月30日発行)


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