IFCN sets a standard for fact-checkers worldwide, Source: Depositphotos

Who Checks the Fact-Checkers?

Who Checks the Fact-Checkers?

There's an organization that upholds the highest standards of truth and can help online readers separate fact from fiction

In a world where information is weaponized, accountability, transparency, and introspection are paramount for those who claim to speak the truth. Thus, fact-checkers are the champions of our civil society, tasked with simplifying complex matters into easily digestible explanations. Amidst a vast range of fact-checkers, a critical question arises, though. Who can truly be trusted?

Luckily, there’s a way to confirm whether our favourite media outlets adhere to the highest standards in the industry.

What is IFCN?

The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) at Poynter was established in 2015 with the aim of uniting the expanding global community of fact-checkers and champions of accurate information in the ongoing battle against misinformation. The IFCN team empowers fact-checkers through networking, capacity enhancement, and collaborative efforts. IFCN actively advocates for the advancement of fact-checking standards to benefit over 100 organizations worldwide, achieved through advocacy, training, and international events.

The team closely monitors developments within the fact-checking arena, offering valuable resources to fact-checkers, contributing to public discourse, and extending support for innovative projects and initiatives that promote journalistic accountability.

The IFCN has established a stringent set of criteria that fact-checking organizations must meet to earn its coveted certification. Its Fact-Checkers' Code of Principles Signatory serves as a mark of distinction and trustworthiness, enabling users and social media platforms to identify reliable sources to verify facts.

The Code of Principles exemplifies what makes fact-checking distinctive. Fact-checkers have a heightened commitment to documenting sources and looking at all sides of issues. The code promotes key practices, such as publishing source lists and offering hyperlinks to research and evidence. The mission of fact-checkers is not one of advocacy. The mission is to separate fact from fiction on the internet and in politics,” states IFCN Director Angie Holan, as quoted by Factcheckhub.

The four core principles of IFCN Certification

The ICFN Certification signifies that the fact-checking organization in question diligently upholds globally recognized principles within the field. While obtaining this certification is no easy feat, it becomes more manageable with the right tools and through collaborations with esteemed universities and scientific institutions, as demonstrated in EU projects.

Here are the main principles:

  1. Non-partisanship and Fairness: Fact-checking organizations seeking IFCN certification must demonstrate their commitment to non-partisanship. They should avoid taking positions on political matters and ensure that their fact-checking process is conducted impartially and fairly;
  2. Transparency of Methodology: Transparency is a cornerstone of trustworthy fact-checking. Organizations must openly share their methodology, sources, and funding, allowing users to understand how conclusions are reached. This transparency helps maintain accountability;
  3. Accountability and Corrections: Fact-checkers must be willing to correct errors promptly. This willingness to acknowledge and rectify mistakes ensures that the public receives accurate information;
  4. Commitment to Open and Honest Corrections: Corrections must be issued transparently and prominently, ensuring that users are made aware of any inaccuracies or updates to previous fact-checks.

In an era marked by sophisticated techniques for disseminating harmful information, including cross-border manipulation, fact-checkers serve as guardians of truth and play a pivotal role in preserving the integrity of information dissemination. Through IFCN certification, users and platforms alike can confidently rely on these fact-checkers to separate fact from fiction, ultimately contributing to a more informed and trustworthy digital landscape.

This article is part of Read Twice – an EU-funded project, coordinated by Euro Advance Association that targets young people and aims to counter disinformation and fake news by enhancing their skills to assess critically information, identify vicious and harmful media content and distinguish between facts and opinions, thus improving their media literacy competences.

The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of its author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union nor of TheMayor.EU.



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