#UkraineFacts receives the first Anne Jacobsen’s Memorial Award

Published 08.06.2022
The truth is the first victim of the war, states the award committee. The Spanish fact-checking organization Maldita.es receives the prize on behalf of the #UkraineFacts.

The prize was awarded in Bergen at the Future Week MCB Fact Conference 8th of June. 

– This MCB Fact conference is the last creation of Anne. She launched it just days before she died in the beginning of 2022. It is my honor to hand over the first award, says Haavard Myklebust, chairman at Media City Bergen.

– I am honored and happy about Maldita.es receiving this price. It is an international recognition for what we do and that is super important for us that outside our country our work stood up and was selected amongst all the great fact-checking being done around the Ukraine invasion, says Clara Jiménez Cruz, co-founder, and CEO of Maldita.es.

Maldita is a six-year-old Spanish fact-checking organization. Maldita has a leading role in the Ukraine Facts organization formed after the invasion of Ukraine, and also in the European Fact-Checking Standards Network. 

The committee states: 
“Unverified information can seem harmless, but it is not. One could say that the only thing that is worse than unverified information is lack of information. Where the people of Russia are kept outside the world of verified information, most of the world outside Russia, including Ukraine, can have access to information that is checked by serious and transparent fact-checkers around the world.

 Using old pictures and satellite photos to check if a news photo looks like it is taken from the same spot as it is claimed, using reverse photo search to check if the picture is published earlier, weather reports to check if the weather is how it looks like and manual work on the ground and by safe communication tools to double check the credibility, Ukraine Facts has moved the borders for what we can expect during an ongoing war. 

The consortium of Fact-Checkers from almost 100 countries around the globe, all signatories by the International Fact-Check Network, has shown how we can cooperate instead of working on solving the same problem in different places or media organizations”. 

The committee would especially like to praise the role of Maldita, for taking the lead role in the cooperative work to fact check and verify information from Ukraine, spread through social media and news media all around the world.


The icon image for Anne Jacobsen Memorial Award is made by Art Director at TV 2, Marit Espeland.

Norwegian fact-checker participates 
Norwegian fact-checker Faktisk is also a member of the international consortium, which means the groundbreaking verifying project that is done in cooperation between several Norwegian media companies, adds to Ukraine Facts.

“It is well deserved that Maldita from Spain, the facilitator for the consortium, on behalf of all the member organizations can receive Anne Jacobsen’s award, to honor her memory”, states the committee. 

This year's award goes to a project that crosses borders and uses new and old technology on top of journalistic minds with a background in both technology and journalism.

 – In Ukraine Facts, we have 99 fact-checkers from all over the world. If someone ask for help, people all around the world will do an effort to help. With the pandemic first and now with the Ukraine war, we have seen how important it is to work together. We work better together, says Cruz. 

For the future, Jimenez Cruz is hoping for stronger and equal standards for the fact-checkers across borders. 

– We need to set up standards so we can work even better and more closely together. And maybe the fact-checkers around the world should have a common database. 

A world of informed people
Anne Jacobsen’s vision was a world of informed people. They are preferably informed by media outlets that are searching the borders where technology and humans meet. Sometimes that makes it possible to push the borders so new media products emerge.  

Anne’s vision is the vision of the Norwegian media cluster she created. And it lives on in the towers of Bergen Media City, even after she passed away early in 2022. Her long work in the Norwegian media industry shall not be wasted.

“To honor her memory and to build on top of her visionary work, it is our privilege to hand out this prize in her name”, states the committee. 

The first victim
– It is said that truth is the first victim of war. At least we agree that a lack of truth and openness can keep the war going for a much longer time than should be accepted. When we see pictures, videos and text shared online, in news media, or on social media, we expect them to be truthful. In the ongoing brutal war in Ukraine, we’ve seen a lot of examples of old pictures put in context with today’s war. UkraineFacts enables large parts of the world to actually have access to verified and accurate information. It is a collaboration between the competence environment in many countries, says Geir Terje Ruud in the prize committee. 


International standards
Maldita emphasizes that common international standards will be important in the future. What does the committee think about this?

– The more we manage to work together to do things according to the same standards, the better, says Ruud. 

Leif Ove Larsen, professor at the Department of Information Science and Media Studies at the University of Bergen and member of the prize committee, explains the idea behind the award:   

– We want to highlight environments that contribute to promoting a more enlightened public discourse, for example through the development of technology or to use existing technology in a way that supports this purpose. That this year's award goes to UkraineFacts, led by the Spanish fact-checking organization Maldita, is a great recognition of the important work they do to ensure the quality of information about and from the war in Ukraine. I hope the award stimulates these environments to continue and develop their work to uncover fake news in the public space, says Larsen.

– What do you think about Anne Jacobsen's commitment to the fight against disinformation being continued in this way?

– I'm sure Anne had really appreciated that. The fight against disinformation and for an enlightened public conversation was a child of her heart. Anne was interested in technology and innovation, but just as important was the work for fact-based journalism as a pillar of liberal democracy, says Larsen.

The Memorial Award committee has the following members: 

  • Kjersti Løken Stavrum, CEO of the Tinius foundation
  • Øyulf Hjertenes, Director at Schibsted and Board Member of Media City Bergen AS 
  • Ragnar Christensen, Regional Director NRK Rogaland 
  • Leif Ove Larsen, Professor Department for information and media sciences at the University of Bergen
  • Are Tverberg, Team leader at TV 2 
  • Geir Terje Rud, previously head of development at NTB 
  • Petter Ole Jakobsen, Innovation Officer at Vizrt and Board Member at Media City Bergen AS
  • Charlotte Vindenæs, Head of Communication at Media City Bergen AS (Administrative support)

Anne Jacobsens Memorial Award has been made possible with the contributions from:

  • Vizrt
  • The Tinius foundation
  • University of Bergen
  • TV 2
  • Kulturoperatørene
  • Fonn Group
  • Amedia
  • Schibsted