March 2, 2023
The Arab Fact-Checkers Network (AFCN) led by ARIJ, held on March 2, its fifth regional meeting and the first in 2023, within “SA7” project of “Qarib” program which implemented by the French Media Development Agency (CFI), with the support of the French Development Agency (AFD).
The meeting was opened by Saja Mortada, the manager of AFCN, by welcoming new members of the AFCN community, as they are participating in the regional meeting for the first time, as well as the meeting guest Peter Cunliffe Jones, co-founder of Africa Check and developer of the IFCN code of principles.
Participants from 22 fact-checking organisations/initiatives in 10 Arab countries, first listened about 4 experiences of Arab Fact-checking organisations/initiatives, namely, Tafnied-Egypt, Kashif-Palestine, Chayyek-Lebanon and Sidq-Yemen, who discussed with Peter how Fact-checking organisations/initiatives can reduce the harm caused by the spread of mis/disinformation in the MENA region, and how to work more efficiently and collaboratively.
Speaking about their experience, Hossam Al-Wakeel from Tafnied-Egypt stated that in many cases the imbalance wasn’t in the statement of politicians but from the media organisations that give the scoop priority more than the credibility. He emphasised that it is important to communicate with media organisations and inform them of their mistakes, and added that this could open the door to cooperation in the future. From her side, Riham Abu Aitah from Kashif-Palestine stressed the importance of the Platform’s role in disseminating a culture of media literacy in Palestine and how it enhances critical thinking skills for the students.
In a presentation, Peter gave the fact-checkers advice on how to work efficiently and collaboratively, how teamwork and unification of effort give platforms more accurate and credible work and make it more effective, and the importance of measuring fact-checking organisations/initiatives their performance based on several criteria.
At the end of the session, Rasha Faek, AFCN Consultant, presented to the participants the next steps of AFCN, and the study on information disorder that AFCN is working on during the next three years.
The SA7 project aims to enhance the best practices, methodologies and tools for fact-checking in the Arab region, specifically in 4 countries facing political, economic and security challenges where the public confidence is declining in the media: Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and Iraq.