Demagog Association

Organization: Demagog Association
Applicant: Pawel Terpilowski
Assessor: Grzegorz Piechota
Conclusion and recommendations
on 23-Apr-2019 (11 months ago)

Grzegorz Piechota wrote:

I have found the Demagog Association compliant with the IFCN Code of Principles and I would like to recommend the IFCN Board to accept their application. 

The Demagog Association is a rare breed of both genuinely passionate and highly professional non-profit watchdog organisations. During the evaluation of their policies and practices, I read dozens of their documents and fact checks, and I found they met the highest standards of quality and impartiality. We are lucky in Poland that the founders and members of the Demagog Association chose to advance our understanding and decision-making with their fact-checking service and education on its methodology to a wider public.

During the evaluation I found two minor shortcomings regarding their corrections policy. 1) The correction policy explains how they are handled and by whom, but it misses a timeframe. 2) The revised fact-checks are clearly labeled and include explanations for the revisions, but they are published in a stream of all fact-checks rather than on a separate page, as IFCN suggests. I believe these are minor failures that the Demagog Association can easily fix.

on 23-Apr-2019 (11 months ago)

Grzegorz Piechota recommended Accept


Section 1: Organization

Criterion 1a
Proof of registration
Evidence required: Please provide evidence that the signatory is a legally-registered organization set up exclusively for the purpose of fact-checking or the distinct fact-checking project of a recognized media house or research institution.

Demagog Association
08-Apr-2019 (11 months ago)

We are registered in legal form of association. You can find our statute here: https://demagog.org.pl/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Statut-Stowarzyszenie-Demagog.pdf

Grzegorz Piechota Assessor
23-Apr-2019 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Demagog is an established association registered in 1989. The association has provided a link to a statute published on its public website. The statute lists areas of the association's business that includes fact checking explicitly.


done_all 1a marked as Fully compliant by Grzegorz Piechota.

Criterion 1b
Archive
Evidence required: Insert a link to the archive of fact checks published in the previous three months. If you do not collect all fact checks in one place, please explain how the fact-checking is conducted by your organization.

Demagog Association
08-Apr-2019 (11 months ago)

Over the course of nearly 5 years we have fact-checked more than 3300 statements and more than 200 promises. You can find all of our fact-checked statements here: https://demagog.org.pl/wypowiedzi/ and fact-checked promises here: https://demagog.org.pl/analizy-obietnic/

Grzegorz Piechota Assessor
23-Apr-2019 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Based on the evaluation of the articles archived on the Demagog's website, the applicant has published an average of at least one fact-check per week over the past three months. 


done_all 1b marked as Fully compliant by Grzegorz Piechota.

Section 2: Nonpartisanship and Fairness

Criterion 2a
Body of work sample
Evidence required: Please share links to ten fact checks that better represent the scope and consistency of your fact-checking. Provide a short explanation of how your organization strives to maintain coherent standards across fact checks.

Demagog Association
08-Apr-2019 (11 months ago)

As an organisation devoted to rules of fairness and nonpartisanship, we try to maintain highest level of political pluralism in our day-to-day published content. We factcheck politicians from every political side. Examples of our fact-checking pluralism from the recent local election presidential campaign:

Warsaw: https://demagog.org.pl/analizy_i_raporty/wybory-2018-warszawa-raport-podsumowujacy/

We fact-checked 50 statements of 13 of 14 total candidates.

Wroclaw: https://demagog.org.pl/analizy_i_raporty/wybory-2018-wroclaw-raport-podsumowujacy/

We fact-checked 49 statements of all of 10 candidates, including those who were not invited to participate in presidential debate (due to their “electoral insignificance”, as stated by the debate hosts)

Kraków: https://demagog.org.pl/analizy_i_raporty/wybory-2018-krakow-raport-podsumowujacy/ We factchecked 44 statements of all of 6 canditates and one politician who was willing to participate but in the end didn’t manage to register his commitee. We fact-checked his statements during his then-ongoing campaigning activities.

We pay close attention to promises made by politicians during the electoral campaigns or exposes. We publish yearly reports fact-checking those promises, based on our promises methodology:

Promises of former president Bronisław Komorowski:

https://demagog.org.pl/analizy-obietnic/obietnice-prezydenta-bronislawa-komorowskiego/

Promises of current president Andrzej Duda

1st anniversary of presidency report: https://demagog.org.pl/analizy-obietnic/rok-prezydentury-andrzeja-dudy/

2nd

https://demagog.org.pl/analizy-obietnic/dwa-lata-prezydentury-andrzeja-dudy/

3rd

https://demagog.org.pl/analizy-obietnic/trzy-lata-prezydentury-andrzeja-dudy/

Promises of PO party prime minister:

1st anniversary of Kopacz’s expose report:

https://demagog.org.pl/analizy-obietnic/rok-rzadu-ewy-kopacz/

Promises of PiS party prime ministers:

1st anniversary of Szydło’s expose report:

https://demagog.org.pl/analizy-obietnic/rok-rzadu-beaty-szydlo/

2nd

https://demagog.org.pl/analizy-obietnic/dwa-lata-rzadu-beaty-szydlo/

1st anniversary of Morawiecki’s expose report

https://demagog.org.pl/analizy-obietnic/rok-morawieckiego/

We monitor the work of Polish Sejm in our annual reports:

https://demagog.org.pl/analizy_i_raporty/raport-rok-sejmu-viii-kadencji-roksejmu/

https://demagog.org.pl/analizy_i_raporty/raport-dwa-lata-sejmu-viii-kadencji-2latasejmu/

https://demagog.org.pl/analizy_i_raporty/raport-trzy-lata-sejmu-viii-kadencji-3latasejmu/

We also publish content concerning the general scope of our interests and activities, such as:

Anti fake news measures around the world: https://demagog.org.pl/analizy_i_raporty/krytyczne-myslenie-co-na-to-swiat/

GDPR changes:

https://demagog.org.pl/analizy_i_raporty/co-zmienilo-sie-po-wprowadzeniu-rodo/

Appointment of judges across the Europe (published during the polish judiciary crisis)

https://demagog.org.pl/analizy_i_raporty/wybor-sedziow-w-europie/

Fake news debunking:

https://demagog.org.pl/analizy_i_raporty/falszywe-informacje-w-sprawie-zamieszek-we-francji-fakenews/

https://demagog.org.pl/analizy_i_raporty/nowy-podatek-dla-sportowcow-na-walke-ze-smogiem/

History of fact-checking:

https://demagog.org.pl/analizy_i_raporty/krotka-historia-fact-checkingu/

Grzegorz Piechota Assessor
23-Apr-2019 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

The applicant has provided evidence that it fact-checked claims made politicians of different parties and affiliations, covering different subjects of the claims but using the same standards. The applicant has shared an explanation of its policy in the application and on its public website.


done_all 2a marked as Fully compliant by Grzegorz Piechota.

Criterion 2b
Nonpartisanship policy
Evidence required: Please share evidence of your policy preventing staff from direct involvement in political parties and advocacy organizations. Please also indicate the policy your organization has as a whole regarding advocacy and supporting political candidates.

Demagog Association
08-Apr-2019 (11 months ago)

Current member of a political party can not become a member of Demagog Association.

Each member of our organisation, including newly recruited volunteers, must complete our “Declaration of Impartiality”: https://demagog.org.pl/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Deklaracja-bezstronnosci-Stowarzyszenia-Demagog.pdf

The commitments included in Declaration are as follows:

To rate the statements with principles of political and ideological impartiality, without any value judgements or subjective opinions.

To use reliable sources of information, based on scientific methods.

To follow the principles of objectivity and impartiality based on irrefutability of data and facts.

Reliable and precise description of reality.

Correction of fact-checks.

We also ask each member of their backstory of political activities of any kind (party membership, electoral candidature, membership in politically oriented NGOs, etc.) We strictly review public activities that potentially could be considered as political.

The board of Demagog Association has the right to exclude from organisation any member that would broke commitments of Declaration.

Grzegorz Piechota Assessor
23-Apr-2019 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

To the knowledge of the assessor, the applicant has not endorsed any candidate, any party or any policy. Its statute as well as a declaration signed by members oblige them to follow the principles of impartiality and nonpartisanship. Both documents are publicly available on the applicant's website.


done_all 2b marked as Fully compliant by Grzegorz Piechota.

Section 3: Transparency of Sources

Criterion 3a
Sources Policy
Please share a brief and public explanation (500 words max) of how sources are provided in enough detail that readers could replicate the fact check. If you have a public policy on how you find and use sources for your fact-checking, it should be shared here.

Demagog Association
08-Apr-2019 (11 months ago)

Our open sources policy is part of our methodology. https://demagog.org.pl/metodologia/

Each published fact-check contains external links (in a form of contextual hyperlinks) to reliable sources used in it. If it is a multi-page source, we also provide more precise description of used data (title of table/chart, page number etc.)

Sources of statements are also provided to assure the possibility of placing the fact-checked statement in broader context.

We gather statements from wide range of sources:

Our everyday “mediascan” activities: We watch, listen and read all of significant programmes in polish media (TV, radio and also web portals) which contain interviews with politicians

We monitor official social media of parties and politicians, both on Facebook as well as on Twitter

We monitor official transcripts of Polish Parliament sessions

We use only reliable sources based on scientific methods from official institutions, widely recognized international organizations etc. If possible, we try to provide multiple sources concerning the fact-checked topic in order to provide more informative and broader picture.

Grzegorz Piechota Assessor
23-Apr-2019 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Having evaluated the applicant's reports, I can confirm that the key sources are clearly referenced and linked. The sources used are expert, rigorous and cross-checked. The applicant has shared the policy of sourcing on its public website.


done_all 3a marked as Fully compliant by Grzegorz Piechota.

Section 4: Transparency of Funding & Organization

Criterion 4a
Funding Sources
Evidence required: Please link to the section where you publicly list your sources of funding (including, if they exist, any rules around which types of funding you do or don't accept), or a statement on ownership if you are the branch of an established media organization or research institution.

Demagog Association
08-Apr-2019 (11 months ago)

We explain all of our financial structure in dedicated page on our website: https://demagog.org.pl/finansowanie/

We describe possible sources of funding, according to our statute.

We present all of our significant (more than 10.000 PLN) funding grants - which contains the actual sum of funding, operational period and brief specification of activities financed by each grant.

Grant:

Stefan Batory Foundation - 141.400.00 PLN (1.04.2018-31.03.2019)

Narodowy Instytut Wolności (FIO) - 275.600.00 PLN (duration: 1.07.2018-31.12.2019

The United States Embassy in Poland - 12.000.00 $ (duration: 29.08.2017-31.03.2018)

We present the yearly amount of individual donations and membership fees.

In 2018 membership fees amounted 1940 PLN. Donations fees amounted 4331.80 PLN.

We also publish our yearly financial reports approved by Tax Office.

We do not accept nor participate in any grant that could possibly influence or try to interfere with our neutrality policy and independence.

Grzegorz Piechota Assessor
23-Apr-2019 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

The applicant has a clearly marked section about its funding sources on the public website. In the section, it details the funding grants, donations and membership fees. It publishes also its annual financial reports, as filed with the Tax Office, that include the overview of spending.


done_all 4a marked as Fully compliant by Grzegorz Piechota.

Criterion 4b
Staff
Evidence required: Please link to the section detailing all authors and key actors behind your fact-checking project with their biographies. You can also list the name and bios of the members of the editorial board, pool of experts, advisory board, etc. if your organization has those.

Demagog Association
08-Apr-2019 (11 months ago)

We present our staff describing their bios and role in organisation on our dedicated page: https://demagog.org.pl/nasz-zespol/

Grzegorz Piechota Assessor
23-Apr-2019 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

The applicant's website contains a section with a list of key personel, their roles and their bios.


done_all 4b marked as Fully compliant by Grzegorz Piechota.

Criterion 4c
Contact
Evidence required: Please link to the section where readers can get in touch with the organization.

Demagog Association
08-Apr-2019 (11 months ago)

We have a dedicated contact form on our website: https://demagog.org.pl/kontakt/

We also provide links to our social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Grzegorz Piechota Assessor
23-Apr-2019 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

The applicant has provided several ways for the public to reach out with complaints, comments but also provided tools to submit the claims for the fact-check. 


done_all 4c marked as Fully compliant by Grzegorz Piechota.

Section 5: Transparency of Methodology

Criterion 5a
Detailed Methodology
Evidence required: Please link to a section or article detailing the steps you follow for your fact-checking work.

Demagog Association
08-Apr-2019 (11 months ago)

We describe our methodology here: https://demagog.org.pl/metodologia/

We present it in an “easy to understand” four-step scheme, which explains both statements and promises methodology.

Grzegorz Piechota Assessor
23-Apr-2019 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

The applicant has provided a clear, easy to understand and a step-by-step explanation of its fact-checking methodology.


done_all 5a marked as Fully compliant by Grzegorz Piechota.

Criterion 5b
Claim submissions
Evidence required: Please link to the page or process through which readers can submit claims to fact-check. If you do not allow this, please briefly explain why.

Demagog Association
08-Apr-2019 (11 months ago)

We fact-check statements sent to us via our social media profiles or our website: https://demagog.org.pl/zglos-wypowiedz/ provided they fulfill our methodology criteria.

In “submission claim” form on our website we remind that we fact-check only factual statements, not the subjective opinions. We provide constant updates on submissioned claims status, till the final publication of fact-check on our website.

Grzegorz Piechota Assessor
23-Apr-2019 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

The applicant's website provides a dedication page for submitting claims for the fact-check. The page includes necessary explanations of the methodology. The applicant provides updates on the status of the submitted claims.


done_all 5b marked as Fully compliant by Grzegorz Piechota.

Section 6: Open & Honest Corrections Policy

Criterion 6a
Corrections policy
Evidence required: Please link to the page with your policy to address corrections. If it is not public, please share your organization's handbook.

Demagog Association
08-Apr-2019 (11 months ago)

We describe our correction policy in the fourth step of our fact-checking methodology.

Chief editor cross-checks every statement that we publish on website. If an factual error that doesn’t change the general outlook of published fact-check is detected, we edit our article with clear “UPDATE” caption at the end of the article which describes the correction.

If an rating-changing error in published factcheck is detected, we publish new, corrected version of factcheck. Statement is corrected not by the original author of article, but by different one under supervision of chief editor. We then publish new, corrected version of fact-heck while leaving at the bottom of the article clear UPDATE caption, explaining the rate-changing correction and the original, erroneous version of fact-check to provide honest and open correction policy.

Grzegorz Piechota Assessor
23-Apr-2019 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

The applicant has included its correction policy in its fact-checking methodology description. It has provided additional explanations of its process of revising a fact-check. 

The policies though do not specify any timeframe in which the corrections will be evaluated.


done 6a marked as Partially compliant by Grzegorz Piechota.

Criterion 6b
Examples of corrections
Evidence required: Please provide two examples of a correction made, or correction requests handled, in the past year.

Demagog Association
08-Apr-2019 (11 months ago)

Examples of our non rate-changing errors are our recent fact-checks, wrongfully attributed to Robert Biedron statements which in fact were said by his associate, Beata Maciejewska.

https://demagog.org.pl/wypowiedzi/beata-maciejewska-o-wsparciu-dla-gornictwa/

https://demagog.org.pl/wypowiedzi/beata-maciejewska-o-elektrowni-w-ostrolece/

https://demagog.org.pl/wypowiedzi/beata-maciejewska-o-polskim-miksie-energetycznym/

Example of rate-changing correction is fact-check of Marek Jurek’s statement concerning the article 7 procedure. We wrongfully claimed that the article 7 procedure is being conducted by the European Council, which allowed us to rate as “truth” Jurek’s statement. In fact, it is being conducted by the Council of the European Union, which changed our rate to “manipulation”.

https://demagog.org.pl/wypowiedzi/marek-jurek-o-procedurze-artykulu-7/

Grzegorz Piechota Assessor
23-Apr-2019 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

The applicant has provided examples of the corrections. 

It does not though have a page listing all corrections made. The revised checks are published in the same feeds as other checks, although they are clearly marked as revised and they include explanations of the revisions.


done 6b marked as Partially compliant by Grzegorz Piechota.

Section 7: Eligibility to be a signatory

Criterion 1.1
The applicant is a legally registered organization, or a distinct team or unit within a legally registered organization, and details of this are easily found on its website.

Criterion 1.2
The team, unit or organization is set up exclusively for the purpose of fact-checking.

Criterion 1.3
The applicant has published an average of at least one fact check a week over the course of the three months prior to the date of application.

Criterion 1.4
On average, at least 75% of the applicant’s fact checks focus on claims related to issues that, in the view of the IFCN, relate to or could have an impact on the welfare or well-being of individuals, the general public or society.

Criterion 1.5
The applicant’s editorial output is not, in the view of the IFCN, controlled by the state, a political party or politician.

Criterion 1.6
If the organization receives funding from local or foreign state or political sources, it provides a statement on its site setting out to the satisfaction of the IFCN, how it ensures its funders do not influence the findings of its reports.

Section 8: A commitment to Non-partisanship and Fairness

Criterion 2.1
The applicant fact-checks using the same high standards of evidence and judgement for equivalent claims regardless of who made the claim.

Criterion 2.2
The applicant does not unduly concentrate its fact-checking on any one side, considers the reach and importance of claims it selects to check and publishes a short statement on its website to set out how it selects claims to check.

Criterion 2.3
The applicant discloses in its fact checks relevant interests of the sources it quotes where the reader might reasonably conclude those interests could influence the accuracy of the evidence provided. It also discloses in its fact checks any commercial or other such relationships it has that a member of the public might reasonably conclude could influence the findings of the fact check.

Criterion 2.4
The applicant is not as an organization affiliated with nor declares or shows support for any party, any politician or political candidate, nor does it advocate for or against any policy positions on any issues save for transparency and accuracy in public debate.

Criterion 2.5
The applicant sets out its policy on non-partisanship for staff on its site. Save for the issues of accuracy and transparency, the applicant’s staff do not get involved in advocacy or publicise their views on policy issues the organization might fact check in such a way as might lead a reasonable member of the public to see the organization’s work as biased.

Section 9: A commitment to Standards and Transparency of Sources

Criterion 3.1
The applicant identifies the source of all significant evidence used in their fact checks, providing relevant links where the source is available online, in such a way that users can replicate their work if they wish. In cases where identifying the source would compromise the source’s personal security, the applicant provides as much detail as compatible with the source’s safety.

Criterion 3.2
The applicant uses the best available primary, not secondary, sources of evidence wherever suitable primary sources are available. Where suitable primary sources are not available, the applicant explains the use of a secondary source.

Criterion 3.3
The applicant checks all key elements of claims against more than one named source of evidence save where the one source is the only source relevant on the topic.

Criterion 3.4
The applicant identifies in its fact checks the relevant interests of the sources it uses where the reader might reasonably conclude those interests could influence the accuracy of the evidence provided.

Section 10: A commitment to Transparency of Funding & Organization

Criterion 4.1
Applicants that are independent organizations have a page on their website detailing each source of funding accounting for 5% or more of total revenue for its previous financial year. This page also sets out the legal form in which the organization is registered (e.g. as a non-profit, as a company etc).

Criterion 4.2
Applicants that are the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization make a statement on ownership.

Criterion 4.3
A statement on the applicant’s website sets out the applicant’s organizational structure and makes clear how and by whom editorial control is exercised.

Criterion 4.4
A page on the applicant’s website details the professional biography of all those who, according to the organizational structure and play a significant part in its editorial output.

Criterion 4.5
The applicant provides easy means on its website and/or via social media for users to communicate with the editorial team.

Section 11: A commitment to Standards and Transparency of Methodology

Criterion 5.1
The applicant publishes on its website a statement about the methodology it uses to select, research, write and publish its fact checks.

Criterion 5.2
The applicant selects claims to check based primarily on the reach and importance of the claims, and where possible explains the reason for choosing the claim to check.

Criterion 5.3
The applicant sets out in its fact checks relevant evidence that appears to support the claim as well as relevant evidence that appears to undermine it.

Criterion 5.4
The applicant in its fact checks assesses the merits of the evidence found using the same high standards applied to evidence on equivalent claims, regardless of who made the claim.

Criterion 5.5
The applicant seeks where possible to contact those who made the claim to seek supporting evidence, noting that (i) this is often not possible with online claims, (ii) if the person who makes the claim fails to reply in a timely way this should not impede the fact check, (iii) if a speaker adds caveats to the claim, the fact-checker should be free to continue with checking the original claim, (iv) fact-checkers may not wish to contact the person who made the claim for safety or other legitimate reasons.

Criterion 5.6
The applicant encourages users to send in claims to check, while making it clear what readers can legitimately expect will be fact-checked and what isn’t fact-checkable.

Section 12: A commitment to an Open & Honest Corrections Policy

Criterion 6.1
The applicant has a corrections or complaints policy that is easily visible and accessible on the organization’s website or frequently referenced in broadcasts.

Criterion 6.2
The policy sets out clear definitions of what it does and does not cover, how major mistakes, especially those requiring revised conclusions of a fact check, are handled, and the fact that some complaints may justify no response. This policy is adhered to scrupulously.

Criterion 6.3
Where credible evidence is provided that the applicant has made a mistake worthy of correction, the applicant makes a correction openly and transparently, seeking as far as possible to ensure that users of the original see the correction and the corrected version.

Criterion 6.4
The applicant, if an existing signatory, should either on its corrections/complaints page or on the page where it declares itself an IFCN signatory inform users that if they believe the signatory is violating the IFCN Code, they may inform the IFCN, with a link to the IFCN site.

Criterion 6.5
If the applicant is the fact-checking unit of a media company, it is a requirement of signatory status that the parent media company has and adheres to an open and honest corrections policy.