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Make facts matter (again)

Transparency Int'l

This week, we saw a worrying backlash against independent civil society groups in Georgia, including Transparency International Georgia, for standing with thousands of citizens demanding a progressive electoral reform.

Smear campaigns and accusations of bias are some of the widespread intimidation tactics independent and critical voices face in response to their evidence-based analysis, as we also saw recently in Brazil.

Those who denounce corruption and human rights abuses are often the target of disinformation campaigns, while their reports and findings are dismissed as ‘fake news’ or slander.

Anti-corruption activism relies strongly on trust in independent media. The use of social media and the impact of fake news is a real threat for our work.

But fake news is not always easy to detect and spreads rapidly. What can be done?

In Georgia, for example, coordinated accusations against our chapter through anonymous Facebook posts were recently detected, labelled and debunked by another civil society group.

Solidarity is important. Several civil society organisations based in Germany, including Transparency Germany, recently expressed deep concern over the rise of attacks against civil society in Europe and called on the German government to support activists in its neighbourhood through the political levers available to them.

No matter where you live, you too can support independent actors in the age of fake news. Identifying fact-based reporting over misinformation and reporting fake news on social media platforms are some of the first steps.

Tell us what you think @anticorruption.

This blog is part of our weekly series of updates on everything corruption-related. You can get them straight to your inbox every Friday.

For any press inquiries please contact press@transparency.org