Information Integrity Coalition congratulates the citizens of Georgia for their progress towards EU membership. European integration represents a historic choice for the population of Georgia, whose unwavering determination has been repeatedly demonstrated by Georgian society in recent years. On November 8, Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, recommended granting Georgia the candidate status during the presentation of the European Commission's annual report on EU enlargement.
The European Commission agreed to grant Georgia candidate status with specific conditions. According to the European Commission's report on enlargement, some of the listed reservations are continuations of the 12 recommendations issued in June 2022, while others are newly introduced. Notably, the reservation concerning disinformation and foreign information manipulation related to the EU and its values is a recent addition.
After Georgia officially applied to join the European Union on March 3, 2022, the influence of both internal and external actors in the anti-Western campaign intensified. The European Commission's report confirmed “following the decision to recognise a European perspective to Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia as well as grant to grant candidate status to Moldova and Ukraine, these three countries have been the target of a new wave of FIMI campaigns, mainly aiming to discredit aspirations to join the EU and blame the West for the current situation in the region. In Georgia, a specific strand of disinformation attempted to imply that the West seeks to open a ‘second front’ against Russia from Georgia. More active debunking by the authorities would be opportune.”
Recent reports from coalition member organizations reaffirm the involvement of not only external actors but also pro-government groups in the anti-Western campaign. In May 2023, META, the owner of Facebook, removed Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili's support groups and other pro-government accounts for coordinated inauthentic behavior, allegedly connected to the Strategic Communications Department of the Government Administration.
The Information Integrity Coalition urges the Georgian government to segregate anti-Western messages and their disseminating groups, utilize strategic communications departments efficiently, and take decisive actions to implement the European Commission's recommendations, with the engagement of civil society organizations. The "Information Integrity Coalition," a union of organizations combating disinformation, is prepared to cooperate with all stakeholders to ensure that the European Commission's recommendations are fulfilled.
The court terminated proceedings against 6 persons and applied only verbal reprimands against 2 persons.