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Media quarantine

Bank Board members generally refrain from commenting on monetary policy issues for one week before the CNB Board’s monetary policy meeting. In the week between the monetary policy decision and the publication of the minutes of the Bank Board meeting, they comment on them to only a limited extent in accordance with the CNB’s published official communications.

“Media quarantine” (or “media blackout”) is an institutional communication rule that is a standard instrument for modern central banks. In the Czech Republic, it consists in members of the Bank Board and other CNB representatives refraining from commenting on monetary policy issues, the economic outlook and other topics that might be relevant to decisions on policy rates for one week before monetary policy meetings (held eight times a year). In the period between the monetary policy meeting and the publication of the minutes of the meeting, Bank Board members and other CNB representatives only make comments consistent with the Bank Board’s decisions and the CNB’s published official communications.

The central bank takes such action in order to prevent speculation about current monetary policy decision-making and to ensure that there is a level playing field – particularly for the financial markets – for receiving and processing this sensitive information. The media quarantine period always starts one week before the monetary policy meeting (usually at 3.00 p.m. on a Thursday) with the publication of the planned attendance of Bank Board members at that meeting. Monetary policy meetings may exceptionally be held on a Wednesday (due, for example, to the attendance of the CNB Governor at the ECB General Council meeting). In such cases, the media quarantine period is one day longer and starts on a Wednesday. The media quarantine period usually ends at 9.00 a.m. on the following Friday with the publication of the Minutes of the Bank Board Meeting. This document, approved by the Bank Board, is a single, consensual output that summarises the latest monetary policy decision and the preceding discussion and is available to all media and market participants at a single fixed time. It is therefore inappropriate for Bank Board members and other CNB representatives to appear in the media and present their individual opinions on monetary policy before the minutes are published.

Exceptions from the media quarantine rule may be made if the Bank Board judges that the benefits of doing so outweigh the benefits of media quarantine.

Media quarantine periods in 2019

Date
of the monetary
policy meetings
Media quarantine
Start End
7 Feb 2019 31 Jan 2019 15 Feb 2019
28 Mar 2019 21 Mar2019 5 Apr 2019
2 May 2019 25 Apr 2019 10 May 2019
26 Jun 2019 19 Jun 2019 12 Jul 2019
1 Aug 2019 25 Jul 2019 9 Aug 2019
25 Sep 2019 18 Sep 2019 4 Oct 2019
7 Nov 2019 31 Oct 2019 15 Nov 2019
19 Dec 2019 12 Dec 2019 3 Jan 2020