The Financial Secrecy Media Monitor blog turned one month old yesterday. Here are 5 things I’ve learned about secrecy jurisdictions from following their online media during this time:
– Discussion or criticism of the offshore financial sector in secrecy jurisdictions seems to be non-existent: So far I have found almost no articles, op-eds, letters or comments referring to issues such as tax havens and development, poverty, inequality, corruption, tax justice, state capture or even having an economy which is overly dependent on a single sector.
– Politicians and columnists in tax havens like to reach for nationalist or anti-imperialist rhetoric when criticized by international bodies or foreign powers.
– Media in secrecy jurisdictions tend to use neutral, technical language accompanied by statistics to refer to their finance industries. For example, the number of company incorporations or of captive insurance companies is reported in a similar tone to employment figures or number of tourists.
– The judicial systems in tax havens may yet prove to be a major barrier to automatic information exchange: in recent cases judges have ruled that local banking secrecy legislation takes precedence over requests or international agreements to share information with other jurisdictions.
– It is very hard to find relevant information on the secrecy industry in Delaware: Over 1 million businesses are registered in Delaware, and it is often cited as one of the world’s premier secrecy jurisdictions, yet the local media – at least online – apparently has nothing to say about the local financial industry.
Something to do better is…
– Work on countering the blog’s bias in coverage towards countries where the media has a relatively active online presence. It would be great to find reliable online sources (preferably in English) on jurisdictions such as Latvia or the Marshall Islands, for example.
Thanks to all followers and readers out there. I hope this blog continues to be a useful resource.