September 6, 2019

The Encyclopaedia Britannica says the Middle East stretches from Morocco to the Arabian Peninsula and Iran but also advises, by some other definitions, that it can even go beyond these limits. According to the Duke Reporter’s Lab, however, in this gigantic piece of land, there are fewer than 12 active fact-checking organizations. Why?

On Oct. 19, the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) will land in Beirut, Lebanon, to offer a four-hour workshop with the Maharat Foundation. The goal is to understand how fact-checkers can start to work in the region. It’s time to support the growth of verification in the Middle East and to see more Arab fact checks being published.

The course, sponsored by Google News Initiative, is free and will be given in English by IFCN director Baybars Orsek. Live translation into Arabic will be offered.

“In the training, participants will have the opportunity to learn not only about the growth of the global fact-checking movement but also to get information on the must-follow steps to start a fact-checking initiative,” Orsek said. “Having launched a fact-checking organization in Turkey, the fact-checking landscape in the Middle East, and particularly Lebanon, has always been one of my areas of interest.”

The IFCN and the Maharat Foundation expect to gather in Beirut a group of 25 active journalists, journalism students and/or researchers. Applications will be open Sept. 6-22. Click here to apply.

A final list of participants will be announced Sept. 30.

“This workshop will be an opportunity for journalists in Lebanon and the Arab region to explore ways to innovate to advance free and independent media and contribute in holding politicians accountable, which is the core of journalism,” said Roula Mikhael, Maharat’s executive director.

The tuition-free workshop in Beirut is the second announced by the IFCN this semester. The first one will take place in Medellín, Colombia, on Oct. 3, during Festival Gabo, organized by Gabriel García Márquez’s Foundation.

Until the end of the year, the IFCN’s team will also be visiting Taipei, Seoul and Singapore to offer more fact-checking workshops. Further training sessions both for this year and 2020 — in other parts of the planet — are being scheduled, too.

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Cristina Tardáguila is the International Fact-Checking Network’s Associate Director. She was born in May 1980, in Brazil, and has lived in Rio de Janeiro for…
Cristina Tardáguila

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