AFP part of alliance to combat fake news in Argentina election

Buenos Aires (AFP) –


AFP and Argentine fact-checker Chequeado are among 85 media outlets and organizations to launch Reverso, the largest global alliance against electoral disinformation, ahead of the South American country's October poll.

Reverso follows in the footsteps of "CrossCheck," an initiative launched in France, in which AFP was involved, to combat fake news during the 2017 presidential election.

CrossCheck was then extended to the 2019 elections in Nigeria while other such initiatives including Comprova in Brazil and Comprobado in Spain have been formed.

They come amid an atmosphere in which misinformation diffused principally over social media during the US presidential election and Brexit referendum in Britain in 2016 continues to generate fierce debate and bitter divisions in those countries.

The Reverso program, which will run from June to December, aims to train journalists throughout Argentina to debunk viral fake news during the presidential election campaign.

"AFP is delighted to be playing a role in this important and innovative project aimed at ensuring the elections in Argentina can be protected from misinformation and manipulation," said AFP's Global News Director Phil Chetwynd.

Argentina will hold an election on October 27 with a potential second round on November 24 if there's no outright winner.

Center-right President Mauricio Macri is hoping to win a second term but faces stiff competition having seen his popularity plummet after enacting a raft of austerity measures that formed part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund to secure a $56 billion loan last year.

His main challenge will likely come from Alberto Fernandez, the center-left candidate elected to run against Macri after opinion polls leader and former president Cristina Kirchner's shock decision to target the vice presidency instead.

Among the 85 organizations collaborating in Reverso are BBC Mundo, Argentina's major media and British fact-checking NGO First Draft.

"We're enthusiastic and pleasantly surprised about Reverso's positive reception in terms of having achieved a very diverse alliance with regards to the editorial and ideological lines of those media participating," said Chequeado's executive director Laura Zommer.

The articles produced by the alliance will be published on the website from June 11 to December 11.

It will use the @ReversoAr handle on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

AFP launched its fact-checking service in 2017 and now publishes verifications in eight languages thanks to a network of 40 journalists and editors across five continents.