Posted on: 13 May 2013
The Statement of the Media Development Foundation, MDF regarding the publication by media of unverified information circulated in social networks
MDF addresses the recent alarming trend of media outlets reproducing the unverified information initially disseminated in social networks. The footage of a man beating up women in one of the restaurants, aired by the TV Company Maestro in 15.00 news program as an original footage of a physical confrontation between the members of the opposition and several citizens at "La truffe” restaurant on May 11 is a vivid example of this disturbing tendency. We welcome apologies by the TV Company afterwards. However, we call on media to be more cautious when reproducing such a suspicious material, especially airing it as the footage of a completely different incident. Materials appearing in social networks require additional verification in terms of accuracy and consistency with the facts. Furthermore, there was no extra effort required to clarify that the abovementioned video reflects the situation occurred abroad and has nothing to do with the incident that took place in Tbilisi.
Hereby, we would like to remind media several clauses of the Code of Conduct for Broadcasting obliging media to provide audiences with the accurate information. Namely, according to the article 14 of the Code:
1.Broadcasters should provide the audience with reliable and accurate information and shall not allow any reporting of false or misleading information.
3. Broadcasters should anticipate any possible interest or bias on the part of the source, especially when dealing with opinions regarding the issue of public interest, and take every reasonable step to ensure the fairness and accuracy of the reported information.
4. Broadcasters, as far as practicable, should rely on first hand sources and gather information themselves. As a rule, broadcasters should not rely on a single source but seek to obtain information from other sources.
Media Development Foundation, MDF
May 13, 2013
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