Keep Calm, Stay at Home, and Carry On


Truly, these are unchartered waters in which we find ourselves. This morning I received an email from the World Financial Association. In an unprecedented move, it called on central bank governors and heads of state to coordinate something unheard of: a two-week general shut-down of the financial markets and trading platforms.

According to the WFA, while the main economic players are asked to shut down gradually or completely, “Financial markets are continuing to run in the most ordinary manner like nothing happened, destroying trillions of values every day on no basis as they trade on virtually no knowledge, triggering panic of the public and businesses.”

The WFA goes on to say. “We cannot pretend to run the largest industry in the world as if we were in ordinary times, thus acting in complete disconnect from what is happening.” Wow.

By now, only a fool could fail to recognize the gravity of the situation that faces us, and you, dear reader, are no fool. At times it can feel that the news is overwhelming. Indeed, advice for those in isolation, whether self-imposed or in enforced quarantine, includes limiting exposure to news that can often seem to be little more than “death, disease and disaster.”

As journalists, our principal role is to report what is going on, and how it affects you. If that is our right, in a free society, we also consider it our duty to do so fairly and accurately.

One of the things we always strive for at the Budapest Business Journal is balance. In this issue, you will find plenty of reporting on the COVID-19 crisis and the government’s economic response to it. It is not by accident that our cover photo, in a rare step for us, reflects the topic itself, rather than being a portrait of one of our interviewees.

But among the serious reporting, you will also find some humor – Stay Home and Drink Wine – and reporting of some of the more positive things that are being done. With a view to something called “solutions journalism”, an increasingly important buzzword in our industry, I’d like to invite you to share with us your coronavirus stories. We would like to hear how the virus is affecting your business, of course, but also what you are doing about it, and what you are doing to help your community and the wider world around us.

While we continue to print the newspaper, we appreciate that some will have limited access to the print version, and others are fearful of the possibility of COVID-19 being transmitted via paper. We wish to help, as best as we can, by sharing information as widely as possible. We have, therefore, decided to make the paper available to all, including non-subscribers, in a free downloadable PDF format for the duration of the emergency period. Look for the link on the main page of our website.

And talking of our website, we recognize that there is a real thirst for information right now, and so we have extended our coverage so that there are now regular updates across the weekend (at 10 a.m., noon and 5 p.m., or as near to that as timing and events will allow). We have covered occasional major breaking stories before, but this is the first time we have committed resources to regular weekend reporting. We hope you find the extended service useful and informative.

Robin Marshall


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