“Around the world, the unholy trinity of organised misinformation, social media echo chambers and fact-challenging candidates make high quality fact-checking more important than ever. The code of principles developed by the International Fact-Checking Network will further strengthen a growing field in accountability journalism and help combat these challenges.”
Alexios Mantzarlis, Director of the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) to Faktabaari the 15th of September, on the day of launching the code of principles
The web-based Finnish fact-checking service Faktabaari is committed to follow the fact-checking rules of the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN).
This commitment was announced together with 35 other fact-checking services on the International Day of Democracy 15th of September. In total, the participants include 27 different services, representing five different continents.
The code of principles drafted by the fact-checking services is aimed to streamline fact-checking procedures and make the checking-process even more transparent.
Host of the Finnish Faktabaari (Fact Bar), Mikko Salo, represented Faktabaari in the development of the code of principles and considers this an important step both for the Finnish Faktabaari as well as the entire international fact-checking network.
“We are pleased to acknowledge that in the future, the challenging process of fact-checking is built upon the concept of transparency on a global level. This is in line with our aim to support fact-based public debate with our partners.”
The code of principles has been adopted by, amongst others, Italian Pagella Poliitca, Full Fact - known for its fact-checking work during the Brexit-debates - as well as PolitiFact, Factcheck.org and The Washington Post Fact Checker, who have monitored the 2016 US presidential election. One of the most interesting European partners is the Spanish TV show El Objectivo La Sexta. The Finnish Faktabaari has proposed a similar show for Finland. Some of the aforementioned services operate in particularly challenging circumstances. These services include e.g. the Turkish Doğruluk Payı and Ukrainian services.The Finnish Fact-checking blog Valheenpaljastajat has also signed for the code.
The Director of the International Fact-Checking Network Alexios Mantzarlis from the American Poynter Institute gave a statement to Faktabaari before the launch of the code. He describes the global challenges faced by the fact-checkers as an “unholy trinity”:
“Organized misinformation, social media echo chambers and fact-neglecting political candidates make high quality fact-checking more important than ever. The code of principles developed by the International Fact-Checking Network will further strengthen a growing field in accountability journalism and help combat these challenges.“
More on the communication by the IFCN.
According to Salo, the network has been concerned about certain services who claim to operate as fact-checkers. ”The code of principles is also meant to be a dividing factor. In the future, there will be a special seal of quality. Through its partnerships, the Finnish Faktabaari intends to promote the code in Europe”.
“When we are checking the truthfulness of a claim, we - as individuals and as a network - pledge to be transparent service in a rapidly developing environment. The principal of openness and transparency applies to sources, funding, processes and, if needed, correcting our own checks”, Salo says.
Salo points out that the operators have studied and modelled the best practices used by scientists and journalists.
“We have to maintain a high standard when we work together with our partners and support fact-based public debate. The best way in fact-checking with journalism students is to rather focus on smaller amount of high-quality input than try to rush for quantity and speed”, Salo outlines.
“We don’t even try to eradicate all of the nonsense from the web. By setting an example, we try to give a wake up call to newspaper editors and owners and usher them to put their money on quality. Let the real journalists follow the principles of good journalism. Our examples are also aimed to wake up the general public, so that people would continue to develop their media literacy skills. Naturally, we also create politicians incentives to have fact-based debates as you can get caught on producing and spreading misinformation.”
Salo, who works in a university, has a message for journalists: “Co-operate with the best researchers. You have the same principles as well as a similar aspiration to create fact-based information.”
The principles of the international fact-checking network demand impartiality and fairness. According to the principles, the use of sources, financing and methodology needs to be transparent. If a mistake is made, it needs to be corrected transparently and swiftly.
Since its start, Faktabaari has followed the approved guideline for Finnish journalists as well as the common principles set forth by the Finnish Council of Mass Media. More specifically, this includes the products of FactBars election-related projects, such as fact-checking cases and blog posts - and basically all other communication. You can view Faktabaari editing process here.
As for corrections, Faktabaari publishes corrections as quickly and as transparently as possible. Edits and additions are visible in the text.
Services who have agreed to follow the IFCN code of principles are obliged to report annually how they have followed the common set of rules. If fact-checking principles have not been followed, fact-checking service can lose its certificate.
Through IFCN, Faktabaari is part of the First Draft News Partner network. This network opens up connections to leading social medias.
FactBar.eu distributes the principles to its European partners. The Finnish Faktabaari is preparing for its next election-related project.
“With our partners, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences and European Journalism Training Association (EJTA), we are distributing the principles and developing fact-checking processes within the framework of our FactBar.eu project. By following the principles of the IFCN, this network can create a stable foundation for its future work”, Salo comments.
Nationally 21st of November Faktabaari starts an open planning process for the following elections and medialiteracy projects while recruiting new staff. The search for new partners is ongoing with like-minded organisations.
Code of Principles for fact-checking as well as the 39 services (situation 20.10.) who have agreed to follow the principles can be found from the IFCN website - Code of Principles
Faktabaari is an non-partisan Finnish fact-checking service. Faktabaari does not work for any party and nor does it work against any party. Faktabaari is enabled by Open Society Association (Avoin Yhteiskunta ry). The aim of the association is to promote the idea of openness as a central value of a our society. Its aim is to bring decision-making processes closer to citizens and give citizens better opportunities to take part in decision-making processes.
Mikko Salo, Open society association Chairman, Faktabaari - coordinator +358405565050 mikko(at)faktabaari.fi www.demo,faktabaari.fi (all the contents in english) @Faktabaari
www.demo.faktabaari.fi (all Faktabaari content in English in view of Factbar.eu) @FactBar