www.factcheck.ge is an innovative political news-and-information project established by Georgia’s Reforms Associates (GRASS). Modelled on established successful international political news-and-information watchdog services, such as PolitiFact.Com and FactCheck.Org, it aims to rate the factual accuracy of statements made by Members of Parliament (MPs), the Prime Minister, the President and the Government economic team. FactCheck is implemented with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Tbilisi, the German Marshall Fund, the European Endowment for Democracy and the US Embassy in Georgia.
www.factcheck.ge is an independent and impartial webpage, providing the public with verified information about the most interesting and important issues of public policy. The political news-and-information service is offered in a fully bilingual Georgian-English format.
There are frequent cases of Parliamentary speakers and the representatives of the other branches of the government misleading the public – unintentionally but also intentionally as serves a particular purpose – which prompts the need for increased monitoring of politics and politicians by Georgian civil society.
The idea for FactCheck belongs to Sergi Kapanadze, Founder of Georgia’s Reforms Associates (GRASS). FactCheck is managed by Paata Gaprindashvili, Director of GRASS. FactCheck comprises a team of like-minded young experts, specialists and sector-relevant professionals from economics, journalism, jurisprudence, public policy and other fields.
The FactCheck team monitors parliamentary sessions, the Prime Minister, the President and the Government economic team, with the factual accuracies or inaccuracies found in the statements of MPs and other politicians subsequently reflected in short research-based articles.
The team checks only the factual accuracy of interesting statements made by the MPs and other politicians. The assumptions or opinions of the MPs and politicians are not checked nor is the feasibility of pledges or the possibility of their implementation.
The main goals of FactCheck are:
- Helping the Georgian public to identify truth in Georgian politics;
- Contributing to providing truthful and accurate information to the public;
- Promoting an increase of the accountability of politicians to the public;
- Helping the development of facts-based and backed-by-facts political rhetoric.
FactCheck covers relevant issues for the Georgian readership in the following fields:
- International Politics
- Russian-Georgian Conflict
- Legal Issues
- Health Care
- Culture and Sport
The accuracy of the facts given in the statements of MPs and other politicians is checked using all available sources of information, namely:
- By using the websites of official governmental/parliamentary structures;
- By requesting public information through an official letter by FactCheck;
- By searching for reports, research and statements by various governmental and non-governmental organisations, news agencies, media organisations, research institutes and similar structures on the internet;
- By interviewing politicians and MPs, their staffers and press speakers.
Fact-Meter’s ratings for the factual accuracy of the statements are as follows:
- True – The statement is accurate and there is nothing significant missing;
- Mostly True – The statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information;
- Half True – The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context;
- Mostly False – The statement contains some element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression;
- False – The statement is not accurate;
- Lie – The statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim.
Every article offers a respective ruling on the Fact-Meter scale. Before a particular article is published on the FactCheck website, the author of the article provides a recommendation to the FactCheck board concerning the accuracy check ruling to be used in the particular case. This means that the approved and finalised article’s recommendation is discussed by at least two FactCheck board representatives who make the final decision concerning the rating of the level of truth.
FactCheck allows for the possibility that in some cases certain inaccuracies may be found in the published articles, but abiding by its core principles of complete objectivity and political non-partisanship, FactCheck declares its readiness to examine any counterarguments presented to us by the authors of the statements under review. In the case if the politicians whose statements were verified by FactCheck disagree with our research and judgment, FactCheck urges them to send the relevant argumentation in a written form. The received proofs will be closely examined by the FactCheck board and in the event of their validity we will revise or amend our research as well as the verdict accordingly.