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Fake news is an integral component of propaganda and is considered as a required instrument for carrying it out. There is no acknowledged definition of fake news but in accordance with the established understanding

it is misinformation or a lie spread by mass media outlets with the aim of the popularisation of a certain source of information and or implementing a certain policy of a specific group. In the case of Georgia, fake news is used by pro-Russian groups in favour of Russia’s policy. Usually, the news items serve to distort the image of the West and popularise Russia.

FactCheck

provides a list (see the table below) of those media outlets in Georgia which have multiple times been engaged in the dissemination of fake news in order to discredit Georgia’s pro-Western foreign policy orientation. At the same time, of note is that the list could be inconclusive. Additionally, not all of the information produced and disseminated by these media agencies is necessarily fake news.

Media Outlets Spreading Fake News
1 Georgia and the World (newspaper)
2 Georgia and the World Geworld.ge
3 Marshalpress
4 Asaval-Dasavali (newspaper)
5 TV Obiektivi
6 Sakinformi
7 GeoDigEst
8 Mediacity.ge
9 Mediatv.ge
10 All.ge
11 Tbilisi 24
12 Alt-infor
13 Politicano
Comment: This list of media outlets is up to date as of 24 November 2017. FactCheck

will continue to verify similar information sources and update the table as required.

Examples of Fake News

Georgia and the World:

  “The President of Turkey declared that Batumi should be located within Turkey’s borders.”

Verified Information (Source: FactCheck) The information circulated by Georgia and the World,

claiming that President Erdogan declared that Batumi should be located within Turkey’s borders, is false. Receb Tayyip Erdogan’s statement concerns existing cultural and historical ties in the region. In Mr Erdogan’s same speech, it is sufficiently emphasised that Turkey respects the geographic borders of its neighbour countries.

Marshalpress:

  “UN investigator says that on 4 April 2017 the majority of casualties died not by chemical but by conventional bombs.”

Verified Information (Source: FactCheck) Marshalpress’s article is presumably based upon information published by the Russian version of Euronews.

Both the latter and the Georgian media outlet have used the UN representative’s 21 April statement which indicated that the majority of persons killed during the multi-year Syrian conflict were casualties of conventional and not chemical weapons and incorrectly connect this statement to the chemical attack perpetrated on 4 April in Idlib province, thereby creating a false impression. The opinions of Sérgio Pinheiro, the aforementioned UN representative, which were voiced at a conference on 21 April have been wrongly interpreted.

Asaval-Dasavali:

  “In accordance with the law adopted in Great Britain, every paedophile or homosexual who was tried under earlier ‘inhumane and homophobic laws’ are subject to rehabilitation. This law will cover as many as 65,000 Britons.”

Verified Information (Source: Myth Detector) “The law which Asaval-Dasavali

refers to is known as ‘Alan Turing.’ It does not envisage the abolition of a criminal record for an individual who has been tried for paedophilia because the act is still a criminal offence in the UK. Only those who have been tried for homosexual relations will be subject to rehabilitation.”

TV Obiektivi:

  Bondo Mdzinarashvili, anchor:  “There is no such thing as night and crawling annexation. I want us to have a better understanding of this. Saakashvili restored South Ossetia within the boundaries of the autonomous republic. He restored the very same territory in its previous boundaries which was part of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic under the name of the South Ossetia Autonomous District. He restored those boundaries…”

Verified Information (Source: Myth Detector)

Bondo Mdzinarashvili’s statement is a lie because Russia is annexing those territories which were part of Soviet Georgia per se. The South Ossetia Autonomous District was established on 20 April 1922 within the boundaries of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic and ceased to exist on 11 December 1991. According to the Constitution of Georgia, the country’s territory is defined as of 21 December 1991 which means that Russia’s recognition of South Ossetia as an independent state constitutes a violation of Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Sakinformi:

  “Western propaganda has already turned to schools!”

Verified Information (Source: FactCheck) The Ministry of Defence of Georgia, in rigorous coordination with the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, produced a textbook entitled Civil Defence and Security.This subject has already been taught in Georgian schools since 2011 but the newly published textbook will update existing material to meet current needs. The Sakinformi media outlet covered this information in a completely different context. It called the textbook an attempt to penetrate schools through soft power and Western propaganda. Sakinformi

also tried to provoke readers and instil negative attitudes towards the textbook. Further, it also discredited the textbook which was designed to develop practical skills among students and teach them how to react to threats.

GeoDigest:

  “The European Parliament has abolished visa-free travel for US citizens.”

Verified Information (Source: FactCheck) GeoDigest

has circulated journalist Giorgi Popkhadze’s Facebook status indicating that the European Parliament abolished visa-free travel for US citizens which is false information. In fact, the European Parliament adopted a resolution and called upon the European Commission to temporarily limit visa-free travel for US citizens because the US still maintains visa requirements for five EU member nations which is a violation of the visa reciprocity mechanism. However, this resolution is not obligatory and the European Parliament is not authorised to make arbitrary decisions. The European Commission responded negatively to the European Parliament’s resolution because negotiations between the parties are in progress and a reinstatement of visa requirements would have made this process even more complicated. Therefore, visa-free travel between the US and the EU is still in force.

Mediacity.ge:

  “George Soros:  On 25 December, the USA will be turned upside down. We are starting the destruction of the world.”

Verified Information (Source: FactCheck) The information spread by Mediacity, that George Soros intends to put USA “upside down” and startthe “destruction of the world,” is false. There are no references in the article which would prove that the quotes belong to George Soros. Apart from that, the article itself has an absurd content and is yet another attempt to discredit George Soros’s personality. The article was indeed wholly fake as proven by the fact that the world was not “destroyed” in December 2016. Mediacity

continues to publish fake news.

Mediatv.ge:

  “Halloween is associated with a Satanist celebration.”

Verified Information (Source FactCheck) The Mediatv.ge

information agency’s article, entitled “Why Halloween is associated with a Satanist celebration – What is it in fact and why are believers worried,”was initially published on the mshoblebi.ge website and contains false information. The argument in the article that Halloween is a holiday to glorify Satan is false because the story of Halloween’s origin (Western Christianity absorbed the Celtic holiday in an altered form) and the aim of its celebration (children going door to door to ask for candy in exchange for praying for the souls of relatives and friends) are completely opposite.

All.ge:

“Vandalism in Mtskheta – there are inscriptions in Arabic and Latin on the walls of Jvari Monastery.”

Verified Information (Source: FactCheck) A video

showing acts of vandalism which was circulated on 10 July 2017 by All.ge (which makes an impression that the fact has taken place recently) is not new. It was recorded in March 2016. The title of the video is an attempt to discredit the representatives of specific countries. It is noticed that the video cultivates a negative attitude towards specific ethnic groups.

Tbilisi 24:

  “The President of Poland snubbed the President of Georgia and indirectly refused Georgia’s EU membership bid.”

Verified Information (Source: Myth Detector)

“This assertion is misinformation and not true. At a joint press-conference of the Polish and Georgian Presidents, the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, made an opposite statement, commenting that the EU should be ready to accept new member countries.”

Alt-Info:

  “According to the statistics, 92% of all rapes in the country are carried out by migrants. It is interesting that among the top ten countries of origin dominating with the number of rapes, there is only one non-Muslim country (Chile). Iraqis have carried out the most rapes in Sweden followed by Afghanistan, Somalia, Eritrea, Syria, Gambia, Iran, Palestine, Chile and Kosovo. An Afghan migrant is 79 times more likely to rape than is a Swede.”

Verified Information (Source: Myth Detector) “As clarified by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, there are no official statistics by criminal origin or birth place. The number of registered crimes has increased in Sweden as compared to the previous years; however, there is no basis to connect the increased crime rate to migrants. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, in response to the incorrect information disseminated about Sweden and its migration policy, published Facts about Migration and Crime in Sweden

where several popular ungrounded claims are reviewed. One of them is the false message that refugees are allegedly behind the increased crime rate in Sweden. As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs explains, data from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention illustrates that 13% of Sweden’s population was subject to violence by 2015. This is higher than in the previous years; however, nearly the same as in 2005.

Politicano:

  “Ukrainians carried out a horrible holocaust with the Jews, resulting in the death of 1.6 million Jews. Seventy years on from the end of World War II, this secret has been revealed and what had only previously been suspected has now been officially confirmed. Surely, nobody speaks of it in Ukraine – they only mention their ‘Holodomor.’”

Verified Information (Source: Myth Detector) Politicano falsely interprets the Daily Mail article as the English news item openly states that the perpetrators of crimes against Jews were Germans, not Ukrainians. Politicano

also omits the part of the article which says that Soviet propaganda disseminated information about an alleged collaboration of Ukrainian nationalists with the Nazis, a tradition well-preserved in modern-day Russia.

The examples provided in this article are not the only facts which the aforementioned media outlets falsified and or offered a wrong interpretation for their readers. There are plenty of verified facts on FactCheck and Myth Detector. FactCheck calls upon readers to be more careful whilst dealing with information published by the aforementioned media outlets.

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