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Georgia: Media Initiative Focuses on Debunking Fake News Reports

Apple Macbooks in a nondescript apartment-turned-office. Coffee is in ample supply and so is the fake news.

Tamuna Kintsurashvili, MDF’s executive director, in the organization’s office. MDF portrays itself as a group that regularly monitors Russian media reports, measures their impact in Georgia, and joins forces with other groups to counter Russia’s anti-Western disinformation campaigns. (Photo: Giorgi Lomsadze)

Tamuna Kintsurashvili and her team huddle over Apple Macbooks in a nondescript apartment-turned-office, situated in a thicket of residential buildings in Tbilisi, Georgia. A large poster in the conference room advises “Accountability.” Coffee is in ample supply, and so is work.
 
Kintsurashvili and her staffers monitor Georgian media for fake news, carefully tracking the messages and their makers. They trace the provenance of questionable news items and connect the dots among stories that first appear in Russian and, later, in sympathetic or just gullible Georgian media, and also inspect backgrounds of individuals involved in this information flow. They publish a newsletter, the Mythdetector, rounding up the top running media fabrications about the Western world and Georgia’s ties to it.
 
“We have many purveyors of Russian propaganda: journalists, politicians and ecclesiastic authorities. And it comes from everywhere: TV and social media,” said Kintsurashvili, executive director of the Media Development Foundation (MDF).
 

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Giorgi Lomsadze is a freelance journalist and a frequent contributor to EurasiaNet.org's Tamada Tales blog.

Georgia: Media Initiative Focuses on Debunking Fake News Reports

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