Fact-checking has become an attractive additional heading for media publications, although fact-checking should be the first step in a journalist’s work and a story’s editor constant companion.
Fact-checking as a separate, autonomous activity began in December 2003 in the United States when a former Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, and CNN reporter, Brooks Jackson, launched factcheck.org at Annenberg Public Policy Center of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.
To date, hundreds of fact-checking initiatives have been set up, some of which operate independently and some of which are part of a press release.
Recently, there has been more and more talk about the activities of fact-checkers and the accompanying measures, but less public attention has been paid to the principles that one or another fact-finding initiative follows.
A more in-depth investigation revealed that a large number of fact-checkers have joined The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), launched at the Poynter Institute in 2015, which has now become a leading agency for bringing together fact-checkers.
IFCN maintains and develops the quality of fact-checking, provides training to members of the network, distributes grants, publishes a weekly magazine, organizes a conference of fact-checkers “Global Fact”, celebrates International Fact-Checking Day on April 2 and much more.
However, the most important task of the IFCN is to ensure that each member meets the standards set by the network. Prerequisite for membership is a thorough preliminary inspection and verification that the joining group meets the requirements.
The IFCN has established a code of five principles on which all members base their day-to-day fact-checking work. Four of the five principles focus on transparency:
At the end of August, 83 fact-checking groups are following these principles. In recent years, both Postimees and Delfi have been engaged in fact-checking in Estonia in cooperation with the Estonian Debate Society and the Debunk.eu application from Lithuania.
For example, being a member of the International Fact-Checking Network at the Poynter Institute is also a prerequisite for being a Facebook fact-checking partner.
Propastop, which by its nature also works as a fact-checking format and has repeatedly written over the years about the need to launch an independent fact-checking in Estonia. In 2018, we wrote about the most prominent fact-checking initiatives in Europe and this summer about Facebook’s fact-checking partners being targeted.
Photo: Allan LEONARD/Flickr/CC