COMCOM Reveals Winners of the Media Literacy Competition “Truth or Fiction?”
The Communications Commission staged the awards event for the third media literacy competition “Truth or Fiction?” A record number of 9th, 10th and 11th grade pupils took part in this year’s competition, which aims to develop critical thinking, analysis and fact-checking skills. Out of 185 excellent works, the competent panel selected 3 winners, who received ultramodern awards from COMCOM. One of the participants also received a special award.
In the light of the current environment caused by the pandemic, the event was only attended by the jury panel and the winners, who presented their works themselves. As part of the competition, participants were required to identify fake news in Georgian media space that had not yet been confirmed as inaccurate. The pupils had to explain how they identified the information, present the relevant sources and establish real facts surrounding the case.
The first prize in the competition was won by Lasha Guluashvili, whose work deals with an article published on Newpost.ge. According to the article, a Chinese company requested payment of $37 million from the Georgian Ministry of Infrastructure due to delays in road projects that were caused by private property situated in the work area, with the owner refusing to allow its demolition. Lasha Guluashvili checked these claims against all possible sources and obtained relevant documents. He also tried to contact the publication to confirm the claims, but received no response. Lasha’s investigation revealed the news to be fake. He received an iPhone 11 Pro from COMCOM as a prize for winning the competition.
Mariam Namicheishvili was awarded the second place in the competition, whose work dealt with fake online vending sites and fake products. She noted that to advertise various fake products on different websites, images of same customers and ‘doctors’ are being used under different names. To verify the information, Mariam looked for the relevant sources, used the Google search engine, critically assessed the information and established that it was fake. She received the latest iPad model from COMCOM.
The third place was takenby Nene Zhvania, whose work deals with the article published on Euronews.ge, titled “Is Proximity to 5G Towers Killing Birds?” and various other information on this issue, claiming that 5G technology is a mechanism for spying, control and artificial intelligence. Nene disproved the conspiracy theories and fake news by verifying information with a scientist and conducting critical analysis. She received modern wireless Beats Studio 3 earphones from COMCOM.
The jury’s special prize was received by Hasmik Baghdasaryan, whose work deals with various types of fake news on social media regarding the coronavirus pandemic, including the possibility to become re-infected, transmission of the virus, the impact of 5G technology and weather on the virus, etc. Hasmik found out that such claims are not based on any sources and do not correspond to true facts. He received an iPhone SE from COMCOM.
The third edition of the “Truth or Fiction?” competition was organized by COMCOM and the Media Academy together with the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia. At the same time, COMCOM conducted educational sessions in the schools in Tbilisi and Georgian regions on the subject of detecting fake news and verifying facts. During the interactive sessions, youngsters used materials from the BBC Academy to learn how to analyse fake information in media and verify facts. These meetings also helped the pupils prepare their works for the competition.