Into the fraught environment of ‘post-truth politics’ comes a new report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, which takes a look at the growth of fact-checking sites in Europe, Laura Hazard Owen writes for Harvard’s Nieman Lab.
The report’s authors, Lucas Graves and Federica Cherubini, conducted interviews and did an online survey of fact-checking sites across European countries. Among their findings:
— “The legacy news media remain the dominant source of political fact-checking” — but that’s especially true in Western Europe. “In the East and the South, meanwhile, the practice is less a supplement to conventional journalism than an alternative to it, based almost entirely in NGOs and alternative media outlets.” For example:
In the Balkans, for instance, a network of NGOs founded in the wake of civil conflicts in the 1990s has turned its attention to fact-checking over the past several years. Serbia’s Istinomer, or ‘truth-o-meter,’ a fact-checking and promise-tracking site modeled on PolitiFact, was established in 2009 by the Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability (CRTA)…Through organizational links and common funders — especially the National Endowment for Democracy — sister sites quickly spread across the region: Istinomjer, a project of Bosnia’s Zašto ne? (Why Not?), a peace-building group begun by student activists in 2002; Vistinomer, from the Macedonian NGO Metamorphosis, which began as an Open Society Foundations affiliate in 1999; and most recently Faktograf, by Croatia’s GONG, originally founded in 1997 as a citizens’ election-monitoring group. ‘The truth-o-meter was the glue for our network,’ said Dušan Jordovi, a CRTA project manager and one of Istinomer’s creators.