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Media, academe re-launch Tsek.ph to fact-check election disinformation

Philstar.comJanuary 24, 2022 | 4:11pm

MANILA, Philippines — Academics, civil society groups, and media outlets have once again pooled their fact-checking efforts to combat election-related disinformation ahead of the 2022 elections. 

Building on its earlier collaboration for the 2019 elections, Tsek.ph, a collaborative fact-checking project for the 2022 Philippines’ elections, relaunched its website Monday morning to carry its member organizations’ fact checks and research pieces. 

Under the project, partner organizations will “collaborate to provide the public with truthful and factual information regarding the elections by debunking false and misleading narratives from public figures, news media, and social media,” the University of the Philippines said in a statement earlier.

“This global collaboration effort is an important reminder of the importance of working together when facts are under attack, and fact-checking is needed more than ever,” said Baybars Örsek, director of the International Fact-Checking Network, the premier global coalition of fact-checking efforts.

“Tsek.ph is one of the most significant efforts in the world that has been carrying out these activities in such a collaborative way that has inspired so many collaborative initiatives among other fact-checkers.”

Academics have labeled the Philippines as the “patient zero” for digital disinformation, pointing to the disproportionate growth of disinformation operations in the Philippines in recent. 

Earlier in the coronavirus pandemic, social networking site Facebook took down a network of some 276,000 accounts for “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” 

The same accounts, which reportedly boosted pro-administration content and fake news against the opposition, were found to be linked to the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. 

Philstar.com is also part of the Philippine Fact-check Incubator, an Internews initiative to build the fact-checking capacity of news organizations in the Philippines and encourage participation in global fact-checking efforts.

“Fact-checking today is at the intersection of journalism and technology,” Orsek also said at the website’s virtual press launch Monday morning.

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