Fact checking is the fashion of this fall


As Fake news has surged and accelerated and with the European Parliament’s and dozens of local elections coming up, groups have started to actively talk about factual control. We have briefly looked at this issue before but now we will look at where Europe is moving in this area.

There is no consensus on the nature of factual control and each group of activists are approaching the problem in their own way. For decades, checking the facts was a part of a journalist’s work and the basis for creating and publishing material. Today, however there are also journalistic publications or factional control initiatives that deal with the factual control of materials published in the media.

There is an abundance of different methods and approaches available to identify the truth of the content. Several publications such as Reuters, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, BBC etc., have applied increased factual checks in their workplace. Content control tools have been installed in various browsers.

A number of media organizations and ventures such as CrossCheck, The Trust Project or IPSO also highlight the importance of fact control and truthful content. The latter is an association of media publishing companies in the United Kingdom who have created a graphic badge to certify high-quality content, which publications in their organization can use for their publications.

Daily fact controlling operations can be broadly divided into two categories – one dealing with the detection and disclosure of all kinds of fake news and fraudulent activities, while others focus on checking out politician’s statements and publishing mistakes.

For example Djekdet in Denmark, Kobuk ja Mimikama in Austria, 20minutes Fake Off in France, EchtJetz in Germany, Ellinika Hoaxes in Greece, Nieuwschecker in Holland, Faktiskt in Sweden and Faktabaari in Finland, all are involved in the disclosure of all Fake news and fraud. Similar activities are found in almost every European country and in some countries, there are several.

The second, similar large group of factual controls activities deal with the statements of politicians. One of the most prominent of this group is Demagog, dealing in Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia, which monitors the debates of politicians and controls the facts presented there. For example, Faktograf in Croatia, Fakt ist Fakt in Austria as well as Sweden’s Faktiskt monitor the statements of politicians as a large part of their activities. The monitoring of the statements of politicians is a large part of all fact controlling agencies.

Fact-finding activists act either voluntarily, by requesting donations from different funds to cover costs or are invited by journalists themselves and operate in editorial offices.

The Spanish based fact-controlling agency Maldita is particularly worth paying attention to. It has a website and a television show on the laSexta channel with the charismatic Clara Jiménez Cruz leading the show. The activity uses private donations thus deliberately avoiding applying for monies from state funds.

In Estonia, factual checking has progressed in waves during election campaigns and then the statements of Politian’s are monitored. The good quality of Estonian journalism does not create a direct need for day-to-day factual checks but rather we should be more active in analyzing the messages of Politians and the impetus used.