IFCN express concerns over Georgian legislation threatening press freedom

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The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) has expressed deep concerns against the proposed legislation in the Georgian parliament that could severely restrict press freedom in the country. 

The legislation, which aims to categorise civil society and media organisations as “organisations pursuing the interests of a foreign power,” effectively a synonym for “foreign agent” has drawn condemnation from press freedom advocates worldwide.

In a statement released on April 10, 2024, the IFCN expressed grave concerns over the potential chilling effects such legislation could have on independent journalism, particularly on the crucial work of fact-checkers, notably, FactCheck Georgia and Myth Detector, both signatories to the IFCN’s Code of Principles, are at risk of being impacted by this legislation.

Fact-checkers like FactCheck Georgia and Myth Detector voluntarily adhere to the Code of Principles, which upholds standards of transparency, independence, and methodology. This code, overseen by the IFCN, ensures that fact-checking organisations worldwide maintain integrity and credibility in their work.

The verification process for the Code of Principles involves rigorous assessment by academic or media experts familiar with the local context, followed by a vote from the IFCN advisory board. This board comprises leaders from independent fact-checking organisations globally, ensuring a fair and unbiased evaluation process.

FactCheck Georgia, a longstanding signatory to the Code of Principles since 2017, has faced baseless attacks questioning the integrity of its verification process. The IFCN vehemently rejects any insinuation that the process involves lobbying or undue influence.

Similarly, Myth Detector, a signatory since 2019, has undergone multiple independent assessments, further affirming its commitment to upholding journalistic standards.

The IFCN emphasizes its dedication to supporting press freedom and protecting the invaluable work of fact-checkers worldwide. FactCheck Georgia and Myth Detector, as integral members of the international fact-checking community, deserve the right to continue their essential journalism without fear of reprisal.

In light of these developments, the IFCN calls on the Georgian government to uphold its commitment to press freedom and refrain from enacting legislation that undermines independent journalism. The global community stands in solidarity with FactCheck Georgia, Myth Detector, and all journalists facing threats to their freedom to report the truth

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Amala is a tactical Fact-Checker, who is passionate about using Fact-checking to curb the spread of Misinformation and Disinformation which has become prevalent in the media space. She can be reached on X at muonweblessing and LinkedIn on Amala Blessing Muonwe

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