A new platform designed for wider audience collecting information about politicians’ activities and promises aims to increase political literacy in Ukraine.
Kyiv, May 23, 2016. Factcheck.com.uа – a tool to combat political manipulation, inaccuracy of the facts and distortion of information reality. Its objective is to analyze the public statements of politicians and verify how they correspond to reality. It also aims at enhancing information literacy of population, creating the political culture and eradicating populism. This was stated by Yana Ibragimova, founder of the platform Factcheck.com.ua, founder of the School of governance Civil and Political School (CAPS) at a briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “Now populism, deception of people and acting on their emotions are the main threats to Ukraine. […] Even after the Maidan people still go and vote for the openly populist projects. One of the reasons is the fact that people do not know the real information. And then it turns out that the opinion poll results do not correspond to reality, and power is assumed by those who tell lies. The progressive young people, experts and journalists know this, but ordinary people do not get it for some reason,” Mustafa Nayyem, MP (faction “Petro Poroshenko Bloc”), representative of the inter-faction deputy association “Euro-optimists.”
Igor Korkhovyi, activist, head of the platform Factcheck.com.ua, emphasized that every statement on the project website contains the verdict and evidence base. It is also planned to form ratings of politicians by the level of their misleading rhetoric. The target audience is politicians, voters and journalists. “The project is also targeted at voters. We know that the political culture of the average voter in Ukraine is very low. We provide information in a simplified form so that the average citizen could read and see whether a politician manipulates or tells the truth,” added Mr. Korkhovyi.
According to Oleksandr Gorokhovsky, Factcheck.com.ua chief editor, each material contains a separate drive at the problem, which should simplify the statement for a reader. The “evidence” specifies arguments collected by factchekers that prove the veracity or falsity of the statements. “We exclusively use open official sources in our evidence base. We use the information received at the requests to public authorities and international partners. We do not use the statements of experts. We consult with them in order to avoid accusations of incompetence,” explained Mr. Gorokhovsky and added that they do not take into account statements with value judgments, subjective opinions or prospects. According to him, due to the high level of populism in political rhetoric, they decided to narrow down the options to three verdicts: the truth, half-truth and untruth. “This is meant to make the quality and scope of untruth more clear and vivid for our readers,” explained the chief editor.
“The main thing is impartiality. People who make any political statements or are involved in any political activities should bear responsibility for them,” believes Serhiy Leshchenko, MP (faction “Petro Poroshenko Bloc”), representative of the inter-faction deputy association “Euro-optimists.” He also stressed the importance of using reliable sources to verify the information. “If a politician manipulates a topical problem, we will verify his statements regardless of his political power,” he emphasized.
Grigol Mgaloblishvili, former Prime Minister of Georgia, former Ambassador of Georgia to NATO, believes that such a tool will create a new political leadership in Ukraine. “This project has already been operating in Georgia. It detects boundless populism and does not allow politicians to manipulate the facts and spread lies,” he stressed.
It is also planned to extend such activities to regional politicians in the future.