Due to the ongoing threats and the severe harassment faced by fact-checkers in Georgia, the European Fact-Checking Standards Network and the International Fact-Checking Network sent an open letter to the leadership of the European Union. Read that letter here below:

Mrs. Ursula von der Leyen

President of the European Commission

Mr. Josep Borrell Fontelles

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Mrs. Věra Jourová

Vice-President for Values and Transparency, European Commission

Paris, June 4, 2024

Dear Mrs. von der Leyen, Mr. Borrell, and Mrs. Jourová,

We write to you with the uttermost concern for the safety of independent fact-checkers in Georgia who in recent weeks have had their offices vandalized repeatedly and have received all kinds of violent threats, including those directed to their relatives.

This heinous campaign is being encouraged by senior members of Georgia’s governing party that have referred to our colleagues as “stateless agents and neo-fascists who received an answer” while they share lists of civil society organizations in what can only be considered as targeting them for further attacks.

As you are aware, this harassment campaign is occurring against the backdrop of a newly adopted Foreign Agent Law that the institutions you represent have rejected and whose repeal has been recommended by The Venice Commission in an urgent opinion because “under the alleged aim of ensuring transparency, has the objective effect of risking the stigmatizing, silencing and eventually elimination of associations and media”. The harassment against Georgian civil society and media organizations, including our colleagues, is yet another attempt at strangling independent journalism and prosecuting organizations just because they intend to keep doing their job.

As this attempt to silence and intimidate fact-checkers is occurring in a country that is an official candidate for EU membership and in collusion with the ruling party, the European fact-checking community encourages you to ensure that Georgian authorities cease in their harassment of fact-checkers and that they guarantee our colleagues’ freedom of expression and information as enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights before.

The European fact-checkers and our colleagues in the International Fact-Checking Network share this concern and join us in condemning the harassment and intimidation we are witnessing. Myth Detector and FactCheck Georgia are long standing members of our community and they are independently assessed routinely to confirm that they uphold our standards of independence, transparency and methodology. They are being targeted precisely because they uphold those values in their work, which is becoming increasingly dangerous even if they keep committed to it in spite of the pressures coming from power.

Mrs. von der Leyen, Mr. Borrell, and Mrs. Jourová, please tell the Georgian government that this harassment is not acceptable and that the European Union institutions stand in solidarity with fact-checkers in Georgia, using the tools at your disposal to see that those attacks stop.


The European Fact-Checking Standards Network (EFCSN)

The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN)