The International Fact-Checking Network joins other press freedom organizations in expressing deep concerns over reintroduced legislation in Georgia’s parliament that would require civil society and media organizations to register as “organizations pursuing the interests of a foreign power” — effectively a synonym for “foreign agent.” Such laws can have significant chilling effects on independent accountability journalism, including the work of fact-checkers. We are especially concerned about how such legislation would affect FactCheck Georgia and Myth Detector, signatories from Georgia to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles.

Fact-checkers voluntarily sign on to the Code of Principles and go through a verification process to prove they meet universal standards of transparency, independence and methodology. The Code of Principles is administered by the International Fact-Checking Network, which is part of the Poynter Institute, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization established in 1975 that advocates for independent journalism. The Code of Principles process typically involves an assessment by an academic or media expert with familiarity of the local context, as well as a vote by the IFCN advisory board. The advisory board is made up of leaders of independent fact-checking organizations from around the world who have been selected by their peers.

FactCheck Georgia has been a longstanding signatory to the Code of Principles, receiving its first independent assessment and successful approval in 2017. Contrary to recent attacks on FactCheck Georgia, the IFCN rejects any suggestion that the verification process to the Code of Principles includes “lobbying” or any other form of undue influence.

Myth Detector has been a signatory since 2019 and has also been independently assessed multiple times.

The International Fact-Checking Network is dedicated to supporting press freedom and fact-checkers globally, including our signatories. FactCheck Georgia and Myth Detector are members of the international fact-checking community in good standing. They deserve to continue publishing their explanatory journalism and fact checks that hold the government, political parties and candidates accountable without threat of reprisal.


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