In early March 2014 the StopFake.org site was launched in Ukraine to identify and debunk Russian disinformation that was specifically targeting Ukraine. Journalists, editors, IT specialists and others came together as volunteers to tackle this critical element of modern hybrid warfare. At that time Ukraine faced both the annexation of Crimea and the beginning of a Russian invasion of Donbas, after then-president Viktor Yanokovych fled following the shooting of over one hundred demonstrators in Kyiv during the Maidan revolution.
Three years on, this volunteer effort is still based at the Kyiv Mohyla Journalism School and has since grown into an information hub where they examine and analyse all aspects of Kremlin propaganda and its impact, not only in Ukraine but across Europe and the wider world. Articles and de-bunked stories are translated into ten languages and are a key resource for those who are are committed to helping combat this threat. In addition to this critical work, StopFake also helps train other groups keen to engage and counter disinformation, and in December 2016 they conducted a 2-day training session in Armenia with young politicians on political fact-checking and the fight against propaganda.
The Integrity Initiative is pleased to partner with groups like StopFake, and eager to see their articles, research and training spread widely. As well as helping to raise media literacy and critical discernment, StopFake also seeks to raise the quality of media available in eastern Ukraine, an area that’s under partial occupation by Russian forces and is subjected to the full-force of Russian media. In December 2016 StopFake began publishing “Your right to know” - a Russian language publication aimed at providing accurate news coverage and exposing prominent themes in Russian disinformation.