IFCN launches new legal support fund for fact-checkers facing harassment

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (June 23, 2022) – The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) at Poynter has launched a new Legal Support Fund to provide financial assistance to fact-checking organizations that are facing threats of harassment, intimidation and litigation.

The fund is made possible by Meta’s renewed support and Google News Initiative’s yearlong partnership with IFCN.

The Legal Support Fund comes at a critical time for fact-checkers around the world that, despite the harassment they face, continue to adhere to a code of the highest fact-checking principles to debunk false claims. Today, hundreds of fact-checkers from 85 different countries gathered at Oslo Metropolitan University in Oslo, Norway to discuss the unique challenges they face in fact-checkers for an increasingly hostile environment.

The discussion, which was part of the ninth annual GlobalFact hosted by IFCN, was moderated by IFCN director Baybars Örsek and a panel of representatives from Meta.

“Fact-checkers around the world are experiencing harassment and online abuse in different forms and capacities. We are excited to offer a sense of support to organizations facing significant challenges on the ground and working towards finding sustainable solutions to the ongoing attacks on journalism and fact-checking with significant support from Meta and the Google News Initiative, “said sersek.

“We are thrilled to partner with IFCN on this crucial initiative to protect fact-checkers from harassment and provide financial support they need to address unique challenges they face,” said Karishma Shah, News Integrity Program Manager at Meta. “The Legal Support Fund is a critical part of our ongoing effort to support fact-checkers and connect them to mitigate the risks they face as they work to debunk viral misinformation.”

Up to $ 40,000 is available for each eligible applicant. Selected fact-checking organizations can use the funds granted to a media defense lawyer and have representation in disputes directly related to fact-checking or reporting such issues such as defamation, copyright, fair use and licensing.

“It’s proving more important than ever for people to have accurate information, and the sort of facts from fiction in their everyday lives,” said Matt Cooke, Head of Google News Lab at the Google News Initiative. “As part of our ongoing support at the Google News Initiative, we are hoping this partnership with IFCN will scale their efforts to a worldwide audience.”

The fund will be administered by the IFCN. All applicants must signatories of the IFCN’s Code of Principles. Grantees will be selected by a committee from regional and global organizations with legal, journalism, and freedom of the press domain expertise. Committee members will review each application for recognized risk that the case could result in imprisonment, bankruptcy and closure.

Applications for the Legal Support Fund will be open next month. For more information, visit poynter.org/ifcn.

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Tina Dyakon
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The Poynter Institute
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The Poynter Institute for Media Studies is a global leader in journalism education and a strategy center that stands for uncompromising excellence in journalism, media, and 21st-century public discourse. Poynter faculty teach seminars and workshops at the Institute in St. Louis Petersburg, Florida, and at newsrooms, conferences, and organizations around the world. Its e-learning division, News University, offers the world’s largest online journalism curriculum, with hundreds of interactive courses and tens of thousands of registered international users. The Institute’s website produces 24-hour coverage about media, ethics, technology, and business news. Poynter is the home of the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership, the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact, the International Fact-Checking Network and MediaWise, a digital information literacy project for young people, first-time voters, and senior citizens. The world’s top journalists and media innovators rely on Poynter to teach and teach new generations of reporters, storytellers, media inventors, designers, visual journalists, documentarians, and broadcasters. This work builds public awareness about journalism, the media, the US First Amendment, and the discourse that serves democracy and the public good. Learn more at poynter.org.

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