International Fact-Checking Network Launches Legal Fund

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The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) launched a new legal fund to protect fact-checkers that faced litigation.

Poynter reported that the fund received support from Meta and Google. Each applicant received up to $40,000 from the fund to hire a media defense lawyer for litigation that involved defamation, copyright, fair use, and licensing.

“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 those challenges on the ground and working toward finding sustainable solutions to navigate increasing attacks on journalism and fact-checking with significant support from Meta and Google News Initiative,” IFCN director Baybars Örsek said of the fund according to Poynter.

Meta said it was proud to sponsor the fund.

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

Google said the fact-checking efforts were “more important than ever.”

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

Concerns about the biases from fact-checkers on behalf of its donors has been called into question.

NewsBusters reported in 2017 that the fact-checkers received millions of dollars in funding from George Soros and other left-leaning groups.

“[M]ore alarming is Soros’ influence in the media. He gave more than $103 million to media organizations between 2002 and 2014. Of that, $61 million went to groups that promoted [Hillary] Clinton’s agenda during the 2016 election.”

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