Propastop has repeatedly written for several years about the need for independent fact-checking. This week, a new fact-checking initiative Klikisäästja (click saver) was launched. It is led by a familiar face from the Estonian Debate Society and the Postimees fact-checking section, Herman Kelomees
The introduction to the webpage says that the Klikisäästja fact control and news portal, maintained by Levila is the watchdog of Estonian public discussions. “We keep an eye on politicians, the media as well as any wider spread of false information in social media. Our examples are several fact-checking sites, such as Politifact and Snopes in the USA, Faktisk in Norway and Faktabaar in Finland. We publish factual checks as well as news, analyzes, opinion pieces and other content that help to understand the information space, which consists of a mixture of truth, misinformation, disinformation and propaganda. ”
According to Herman Kelomees, the initiator of the independent fact-checking site, there are several publications in the world that focus primarily on fact-checking. They have appeared mainly in the last decade. “If they exist in both Finland and Latvia, why not in Estonia as well? Our goal is not just to write about responsive fact checks, but also to develop as a fact check publication. This means maintaining various permanent headings, publishing the work of capable co-authors as well as dealing more thoroughly with investigative stories that have grown out of fact checks.”
Daniel Vaarik, the leading figure of Levila, says that Levila has been interested in fact-checking from the beginning, we have communicated with university students who do it and thought about how to have more of it in Estonia. “Consequently, Herman had this interesting idea to do it through Klikisäästja. We hope to find stories here for Levila in the future, but the website is open for cooperation to anyone who wants to refer to a fact check made by Klikisäästaja. ”
The topic of independent fact-checking is close to the heart of Propastop’s editorial staff. In December 2017, we asked who would be the most appropriate to set up such a fact-checking unit in Estonia? Instead of individual press publications, it seems to Propastop that the best solution here would be the Estonian Newspaper Association itself. Subsequently, this organization led by Mart Raudsaar could form a section to fight fake news consolidating the media through this unit. This way, the fact-checking would be neutral and free from the private interests of particular media groups.
In 2018, we wrote a comprehensive overview of fact-checking endeavors in Europe and found that day-to-day fact-checking activities can be broadly divided into two categories. One group focuses more on detecting and exposing all sorts of fake news and fraud, and its disclosure, while others focus on verifying politicians’ statements and exposing mistakes.
Last summer, we took a close look at methodologies on how one fact-checking operation could operate independently and in a balanced way. An in-depth investigation revealed that a large number of fact-checkers have joined the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), launched by the Poynter Institute in 2015, which has now become the leading company 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.
Klikisäästja is also based on these principles.
Propastop wishes success to the new initiative!