Dear Liberian Politicians and Policymakers:
In less than four months, Liberia will go to elections that will feature several candidates and political parties.
The media, particularly social media, is flooded with content geared toward pushing one political agenda or another. There are allegations and counter-claims, some of which reinforce existing ethnic and religious narratives while instilling distrust among Liberians.
This is an appeal from us, Liberian fact-checkers, to you, politicians, whether you are running in the 2023 elections or not.
It is the responsibility of all citizens to ensure that the general election in 2023 is credible by all standards. In addition, because you play an important role in this, this open letter is for you.
Our internal procedures and methodology require us to deliver factual, impartial, unbiased, and independent reports free from personal prejudices and beliefs.
We are an independent and non-political network; we do not support any political party or candidate. Misinformation and disinformation pose a threat to Liberians’ ability to hold a fair election in 2023.
Misinformation that can alter the public’s perception of politicians and parties and sway voters is gradually on the rise, which is a risky trend.
The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) set of principles is followed by the Liberian Fact-Checkers’ Network, which is committed to impartiality and fairness.
Election results accurately reflect the people’s informed decisions and are free from fraud and influence peddling to promote democracy.
Certainly, these are difficult times for fact-checking. False information is spreading. Outright lies circulate online with startling regularity. Fact-checkers have trouble obtaining the materials they want in a country that is polarized by politics.
We are requesting those in positions of authority to further their agendas and not harm the common good by using disinformation.
Additionally, fact-checkers and other journalists are targeted and harassed just for carrying out their duties.
It is crucial to remember that, even if misinformation and disinformation help your campaign, it is enough for you to refrain from making false claims and disseminating inaccurate information. You also need to take responsibility for dispelling incorrect information that is related to your candidacy or your party.
We are observant. We keep an eye on the media to identify false information and expose disinformation campaigns.
For the benefit of society, accuracy in public discourse must be maintained. This election season, we cordially ask you to join the fight against the dissemination of false information. You owe it to the people you hope to represent to make sure they have access to proper information and are not misled or intimidated when they go to the polls.
Again, we will strive to be dispassionate and non-partisan, drawing attention to inaccurate statements on both sides, including those made by now-independent candidates.
Elections are not a life-and-death situation. Do it now, for future generations.
Liberian Fact-Checkers’ Network
Mobile: +231770197670/ +231776230440
Email: [email protected]