This year, the Fact-Checkers Legal Support Initiative will be hosting a session at Global Fact 7, the annual IFCN-led conference for fact-checkers around the world. Due to Covid-19, this year’s conference will be taking place online from the 22nd – 30th June. There will be more than 150 speakers from more than 40 countries and 50+ hours of live discussions, panels, presentations and workshops.


Our FLSI session will take place on Monday the 29th June from 11am – 12noon EDT. Featuring Padraig Hughes, Legal Director of our partner organisation Media Defence, and Thanos Sitistas of Ellinika Hoaxes, the session will be on Facts Under Attack: Protecting Fact-Checkers from Legal Threats.

Speaker Bios

Padraig Hughes joined Media Defence and the Fact-Checkers Legal Support Initiative as Legal Director in 2016. He holds an MA, MLitt (Dub.) and LLB (Lond.) and has been called to the Bar of England and Wales, and the Bar of Ireland.

Thanos Sitistas serves as senior editor in a tight-knit team of fact-checkers at Ellinika Hoaxes, a fact-checking media outlet in Greece that aims to combat disinformation through debunking fake news on a variety of topical issues, from politics and public health to migration.

Session Content

In recent years, there has been an increase in the spread of misinformation, disinformation, and fake news online. This has led to a growing demand for fact-checkers to verify information in the public sphere and ensure its accuracy. The importance of this function has been amply demonstrated in the ongoing Covid-19 public health crisis. With the emergence of more fact-checking organisations there has been an increase in legal threats against them.

This panel will discuss how fact-checkers can use international legal standards on freedom of expression to push back against legal threats and defend themselves from litigation that can often be characterized as vexatious and intimidatory.

The panellists will discuss their experience of litigating cases involving fact-checkers, and how the international legal framework can provide greater protection for an industry that is playing a central role in ensuring dissemination of accurate and truthful information into the public domain. The panellists will speak for 15 minutes each followed by a 20-minute question and answer session. The panel will be chaired by Saba Ashraf, Senior Legal Officer at Media Defence.

To find out more about Global Fact 7 and sign up to attend our session please click here.