According to the guideline document (http://factcheck.ge/en/about-us/guideline/), project team members are obliged to leave their political preferences behind and maintain absolute nonpartisanship during fact-checking. In addition, the biographies of FactCheck team members are transparent and published on the project web-page (see: http://factcheck.ge/en/team/), which demonstrate and is proof of their non-partisanship.
As for the policy of the organization, nonpartisanship is one of the major requirements, which is applied to job candidates during their selection process. In addition, if any member of the organization will decide to join or advocate for any political organization, it automatically results in termination of the labor agreement and he/she is immediately dismissed from his/her obligations and duties. In several cases, particular members of FactCheck Georgia have left the project in pursuant of political career, be it in the government or opposition parties. In such cases, their membership at FactCheck Georgia was suspended prior to their engagement in political activities.
GRASS is non-partisan and with its activities it only aims to benefit the public interests. GRASS as a whole and FactCheck Georgia, particularly, do not advocate for any political party or candidate. It is of fundamental interest for the organization to remain non-partisan and non-affiliated with any political organization. According to its statute, GRASS is non-entrepreneur, non-commercial entity, which does not aim to conduct political advocacy initiatives.
This policy also applies to FactCheck Georgia, which has developed a common approach to all political organizations. For example, during the 2016 Parliamentary Pre-Election Campaign, FactCheck has interviewed more than 200 majoritarian candidates from all major political parties participating in the elections. All of the candidates were inquired upon the same questionnaire and all of their interviews were published at factcheck.ge and FactCheck Georgia’s – FactMeter Newspaper (materials can be submitted upon request).
As the methodology document of the project points out, FactCheck Georgia is politically independent and nonpartisan (http://factcheck.ge/en/methodology/). But in the first instance, its nonpartisanship is proved by the articles published on the project web-page and the verdicts, which are solely based on the objective analysis of information. FactCheck Georgia’s work does not incite any doubts about its non-partisanship and impartiality. Donor organizations, such as USAID, National Endowment for Democracy, German Marshall Fund, European Endowment for Democracy, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Georgia, US Embassy in Georgia, who have been funding FactCheck during these years, will also confirm the impartiality of our initiative based on the partnership process and reports submitted.
Public references are yet another recognition of FactCheck Georgia’s reliability and objectivity. For example, Mr. Ivan Vejvoda, Senior Vice President / Programs of the German Marshall Fund of the United States emphasized the importance of Factcheck.ge during the meeting (12.07.2016, Washington) of Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats (Committee on Foreign Affairs). According to Mr. Vejvoda Fact-check in Georgia, implemented by the NGO GRASS is probably the best example of ensuring the transparency of both political and economic governance (https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearing/subcommittee-hearing-corruption-danger-democracy-europe-eurasia/).