Kyiv – Information resource Stopfake advises not to trust loud headlines, check the competence of the experts cited in the material and be cautious about articles whose author writes too emotionally. These simple tips will help not to fall victim to Russian propaganda fakes. Co-founder of the resource Margo Hontar told Radio Liberty about the particular features of Russian-Ukrainian information war.
Information resource Stopfake started working in March 2014, by actively reporting on the annex of Crimea. The project was founded by graduates and students of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy School of Journalism. At the moment, the project involves a team of journalists, programmers and translators. Margo Hontar and Alina Suhoniako are anchors featured in the video version of the program that engages in challenging the fakes.
Margo Hontar: The Kremlin’s main idea is to portray a victim country as the aggressor country. So, Ukraine is portrayed as an aggressive state, which has aggressive institutions: the army that is eradicating its own people. Any means are used to do this. For example, taking Valeriy Heletey’s (Minister of Defense) words out of context, that we should prepare for deaths and so forth. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs published this on their website. They also simultaneously present the Russian side as the savior and a de-facto peacekeeper.
Accordingly, in order to show how ‘negatively’ the Ukrainian army behaves itself, in July there were many photographs from Siberia, or videos from Chechnya or Dagestan, which were presented as videos from the East. Of course, the Ukrainian side was shown as the culprit. De facto this is why we had the situation with Crimea, and our problem with the east of Ukraine also partially stems from there. As they (Russian media – ed.) also use the term banderites there, and this term is absolutely artificial.
How to differentiate propaganda from objective information?
We should verify several sources, at least, how this information is portrayed in other sources. If the readers observes a change in accent or numbers, it is food for thought. Besides, do not trust headlines, they can differ from the text. The same way, attention should be paid to any expert comments. Even Google the expert and see whether they are competent to comment on the issue.
Besides, we should pay mind to the source. If there is none, it’s a cause for doubt, if there is one, you should check the original. It is possible that the contents changed on the way from the original to the material.
We should also pay attention to emotionality and the usage of terms torturers, junta, banderites, ukrs. If the language is emotional, this may mean that the author lacks facts.
If the medium reports on an event but the participants of the event don’t comment on it, or even say that the event never happened – it is reasonable to believe that it is most probably a horror story.
Source: Radio Liberty
Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina