Fact-Checking efforts in times of crisis: Turkey-Syria earthquake as a case study
February 23, 2023
With the participation of more than 100 participants via Zoom and 1,200 viewers on Facebook live, the Arab Fact-Checkers Network AFCN led by Arij, hosted fact-checkers from three countries on 23 February: Ahmed Primo, Founder of Verify– Syria Platform, Can Semercioğlu, Communication Officer of Turkish Teyit Platform, Mohamed Bazzi Journalist and fact-checker at “SAWAB” Lebanese Initiative, in the webinar entitled “Fact-Checking efforts in times of crisis: Turkey-Syria earthquake as a case study”.
The webinar was moderated by Rasha Faek, trainer and consultant with AFCN. The fact-checkers from the three countries provided during the webinar, the most important mis/disinformation that was related to the earthquake crisis in Turkey and Syria, in an interactive two-hour session and discussed how fact-checking organisations/initiatives in Turkey, Syria and Lebanon have debunked these claims, also they stressed the importance of cooperation between them and how it contributed to successfully addressing mis/disinformation during the crisis.
The trainers shared with the attendees the types of information they responded to, and mentioned that a lot of mis/disinformation that spread contributed to the promotion of hate speech in Turkey against Syrian refugees.
Ahmed Primo, founder of Verify -Syria, shared his experience: “There was unjustified hate speech against Syrian refugees in conjunction with the approaching Turkish elections, many of whom were accused of stealing homes damaged by the earthquake.”
Can Semercioğlu from Teyit -Turkish platform confirmed that “Many political figures in the country have been spreading hate speech and misleading news against Syrian refugees.”
Trainers added that mis/disinformation about earthquakes and tsunamis after the earthquake had a major impact on spreading fear among people. Mohammed Bazzi from Sawab team in Lebanon stated that his team had been working continuously to debunk rumours of a tsunami and other earthquakes that continue to spread on social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook.
It’s worthy mentioning that AFCN launched on the 10th of February 2023, in cooperation with Verify Syria and Teyit in Turkey, a hotline to fact-check information about the Turkey-Syria earthquake in Arabic language
The Arab Fact-Checkers Network (AFCN) is a grassroots network that works towards fostering transparent and impartial fact-checking in the Arab region. This network is a product of the mis/disinformation spikes amid the unprecedented times of COVID-19 worldwide.