On 10 September 2021, Vakho Sanaia posted his opinion on social networks about the situation in the country. This opinion was published by different news agencies under a distorted headline. These news agencies picked one part from Mr Sanaia’s Facebook publication where the journalist speaks about revolution and sought to make an impression that he is calling for people to revolt.
Although news agencies published Vakho Sanaia’s full quote in their respective articles, a headline is considered as separate journalistic material according to modern journalism standards. In this case, the headline was misleading, deliberately distorting the context and discrediting the author of the publication. Therefore, FactCheck has issued a verdict of manipulation for this item of disinformation.
On 10 September 2021, Vakho Sanaia posted his opinion about situation in the country on his own Facebook page. In his publication, Mr Sanaia pays attention to why high voter turnout is necessary and why mistrust and nihilism vis-à-vis elections should not be cultivated among the population.
Vakho Sanaia also speaks about revolution in his publication. Different news agencies took precisely that part of the publication out of context and put it as a headline (“When there is no other solution, except for revolution…” – Vakho Sanaia). By changing the context in this manner, the news agencies made an impression that Mr Sanaia is calling for people to make a revolution and states that there is no other way.
In his Facebook publication, Vakho Sanaia highlights the fact that revolution is a “way” only when the “government leaves no other way” and “steals” elections which the opposition has won. The whole idea of the status is that people should vote.
The context of the headline distorts the essence of the journalist’s idea in a manner to mislead Facebook users. This is visible in the comments that users left under that publication.
According to modern media standards, a headline can be considered as a separate media product. The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics made the following clarification on the case “Ana Gabelaia v Marta Labadze and Unidentified Journalists of Reportiori.ge, Kvira.ge and Digest.pia.ge (2018):” “Given the modern conditions and the forms for circulating information and, moreover, when it comes to online articles which can be shared through social networks, the headlines of articles are of paramount importance. Headlines of articles disseminated through social networks get the biggest load, particularly when the headline itself presents information in the affirmative. The Charter believes that in most cases the headline of an article should be considered as a separate journalistic product. The reader has an expectation and trusts that the article’s headline is a confirmed conclusion based on consolidated factual circumstances presented in the article and may decide it is unnecessary to read the full article in the hopes that he has already read the major finding of the article in its headline.”
Therefore, FactCheck concludes that taking Vakho Sanaia’s quote out of context and putting it as a headline is a manipulation and aims to mislead Facebook users.
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