Demagog.cz

Organization: Demagog.cz
Applicant: Zdeněk Jirsa
Assessor: Jan Indra
Edits made by the organization after this assessment

IFCN Staff wrote:

From the applicant:

1. Organization

"Demagog’s website provides an overview of all the claims fact-checked and where they appeared (debates, interviews, etc.). Aside from two special reports on politicians‘ promises, there are no comprehensive reports being published, only summaries of all the claims included in a given public appearance or summaries of all the claims of a given politician. The frequency of Demagog’s fact-checking varies, although its activity could be considered to be fairly consistent and frequent (graph below)."

Project Demagog.cz uses from its start a different approach on how to publish fact-checking data. It is not a form of a full text report, but we publish every statement that was raised in the evaluated debate. That can be actually considered as a reports as it is clear to which debate/interview etc. they belong, plus at the beginning of each published fact-check there is a short annotation of the debate.

https://demagog.cz/diskuze/prezidentsky-duel-ceske-televize

3. Transparency of funding

a. "On its website, Demagog CZ states that it is not financially connected to any political party or a lobbyist group. It is funded through various sources, including crowdfunding, different foundations‘ donations, grants or thanks to winning several awards. The website lists several logos of the supporting organizations (US Embassy, Visegrad Fund) and Demagog’s partners (zakonyprolidi.cz, Newton Media). Throughout the last year, Demagog has also set up a transparent bank account where anybody can see all the money received by Demagog and their origin.

https://www.rb.cz/o-nas/povinne-uverejnovane-informace/transparentni-ucty?mvcPath=transactions&accountNumber=9711283001

However, Demagog does not provide its readers with any detailed summary of its revenues or donors. Furthermore, its business registry entry does not contain any published financial documents or annual reports. While anybody could research the bank account and its money flows, in order to fully comply I recommend creating a page with a more thorough description of Demagog’s finances and major supporters. Lastly, while the website states the form of organization of Demagog, it does not provide any additional information on how that impacts its disclosure of information.”

As the revenue of Demagog.cz has not reach an amount that would require more formal way of accounting and respective reporting,Demagog.cz publishes on the website in dedicated section “Name financování” its Annual reports and monthly statements of account, where anyone is able to find exact funding sources of our organisation. At the bottom of the page there are also mentioned organisation that support and/or cooperate with us.

https://demagog.cz/diskuze/jak-je-projekt-demagogcz-financovan

b. "The website of Demagog lists all the people involved in the project. However, it only lists the names without any biographies or a description of the existing hierarchy (founders, managers, etc.). I recommend adding at least a concise bio on each member involved in the fact-checking initiative.”

In section "O nás -> O Demagog.cz” there is general description of the project and list of all its members. Each member has an assigned position within the project: “ Koordinátor (coordinator)/Projektový manager (project manager)/Metodolog (methodologist)/Expert (expert/ka)/Korektor (proofreader)/Vývoj redakčního system (IT support)/Stážista (intern). Beside the position, there is a brief description about the person and his/her activity within the project. Plus for the coordinator and project, there is phone number and email address.

c. "While Demagog’s website page linked in the application lists an e-mail address and a phone number of one of its board members, the page itself is hard to navigate to and not clearly indicated on the website. Besides that, there are no other contact information, only a widget showing Demagog’s FB page. I would prefer to see the contact information right upon visiting the website (e.g. via the page’s footer) or being clearly navigated to a „contact us“ section on the website."

There is a dedicated contacts page available now, including PR contact and mail to address to provide feedback for our evaluation:

https://demagog.cz/diskuze/kontakty

5. Transparency of methodology

"Demagog encourages its audience to contact them with any remarks regarding the assessment of the claims fact-checked.

However, the website does not state Demagog would be open for submissions of claims to be fact-checked since it chooses the debates and all other public apperances to be fact-checked itself.”

As mentioned in previous point, anyone can contact us in regards to our evaluation of fact-checking statements (https://demagog.cz/diskuze/kontakty) and there is also a dedicated section on the website explaining how this process works.

https://demagog.cz/diskuze/mam-vyhradu-k-hodnoceni-nebo-navrh-na-overeni-kam-se-mohu-obra

To address the second part of the assessment, Demagog.cz used to have an initiative for people to send us factual claims, that we would fact-check. After three to four years this option was decommissioned as the interest of public was very low.

From the assessor:

I would like to thank Demagog for considering my suggestions and reflecting them on its website. All the changes made further improve upon the transparency of the organization, which I deem to be fully acceptable now.


Conclusion and recommendations
on 22-Mar-2017 (1 year ago)

Jan Indra wrote:

I would like to thank Demagog for considering my suggestions and reflecting them on its website. All the changes made further improve upon the transparency of the organization, which I deem to be fully acceptable now.

Demagog is one of the few fact-checking initiatives in the Czech Republic, and quite possibly the most notable one. It has a clear and thorough code of ethics and methodology, and its fact-checking is backed by high-quality research that shows in the reasoning behind every assessment of a politician’s claim (true/not true/misleading/impossible to verify). Demagog’s work has been recognized and awarded several times, including winning the Journalism Award in the category “Google Award for Innovative Online Journalism“.

Demagog has been fully or partially compliant in all aspects of the IFCN Code of Principles, and therefore, I would recommend its admission. Still, there are several areas where I would ask for several adjustments to be conducted, particularly with respect to the sections describing funding of Demagog and its staff. Some minor adjustments could also be applied regarding the corrections policy and the contact information.

on 22-Mar-2017 (1 year ago)

Jan Indra recommended Accept with edits


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.cz
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago)

The organisation is officially registered as NGO by Ministry of Justice in Czech Republic: https://or.justice.cz/ias/ui/rejstrik-firma.vysledky?subjektId=938169&typ=UPLNY

Jan Indra Assessor
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Demagog has been set up exclusively for the purpose of fact-checking, as stated in the business registry of the Czech Republic.

(https://or.justice.cz/ias/ui/rejstrik-firma.vysledky?subjektId=938169&typ=UPLNY)


done_all 1a marked as Fully compliant by Jan Indra.

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.cz
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago)

Project Demagog.cz uses from its start a different approach on how to publish fact-checking data. It is not a form of a full text report, but we publish every statement that was raised in the evaluated debate. That can be actually considered as a reports as it is clear to which debate/interview etc. they belong, plus at the beginning of each published fact-check there is a short annotation of the debate.

https://demagog.cz/diskuze/prezidentsky-duel-ceske-televize

---

Directly on the front page of our website: http://demagog.cz

Jan Indra Assessor
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Demagog’s website provides an overview of all the claims fact-checked and where they appeared (debates, interviews, etc.). Aside from two special reports on politicians‘ promises, there are no comprehensive reports being published, only summaries of all the claims included in a given public appearance or summaries of all the claims of a given politician. The frequency of Demagog’s fact-checking varies, although its activity could be considered to be fairly consistent and frequent (graph below).

A month-by-month/week-by-week comparison of Demagog’s publication activity in year 2017. (link to the Tableau dashboard: https://public.tableau.com/views/Demagogassessment/Dashboard1?:embed=y&:display_count=yes&publish=yes)


done 1b marked as Partially compliant by Jan Indra.

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.cz
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago)

  1. http://demagog.cz/diskusie/436/kalouskuv-rozhovor-v-pravu 
  2. http://demagog.cz/diskusie/434/babisuv-rozhovor-v-lidovkach 
  3. http://demagog.cz/diskusie/425/novy-lidr-cssd 
  4. http://demagog.cz/diskusie/424/cesko-i-evropa-pohledem-spd 
  5. http://demagog.cz/diskusie/417/zeman-v-jihoceskem-kraji 
  6. http://demagog.cz/diskusie/410/problemy-budoucich-koalic-a-ceskeho-skolstvi 
  7. http://demagog.cz/diskusie/411/danove-zmeny-podle-cssd 
  8. http://demagog.cz/diskusie/399/bezpecnost-evropy-bezpecnost-cr 
  9. http://demagog.cz/diskusie/398/hanobeni 
  10. http://demagog.cz/diskusie/401/otazky-s-premierem

Every fact-check that is done by Demagog.cz is strictly following our methodology and code of principles (available on the website). Above mentioned links point to 5 interviews with politicians from across the political spectrum in Czech Republic and 5 links to TV debates. Factual statements are being checked regardless to politician current position or ideological background (PM, Minister of Finance, opposition, Head of State, Rightwing politician).

Jan Indra Assessor
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago)

Based on a simple analysis of the debates/interviews fact-checked, the data show (graph below) that Demagog has fact-checked politicians across the political spectrum, with slightly more attention given to the politicians from parties in charge of the government (which could be considered a logical consequence of more media attention given to those in power at a given moment). Looking at the examples provided, Demagog has demonstrated a high degree of nonpartisanship and fairness, providing each fact-checking decision with a well-researched reasoning.


done_all 2a marked as Fully compliant by Jan Indra.

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.cz
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago)

Below link points to Code of Principles of Demagog.cz:

http://demagog.cz/eticky-kodex-demagogcz

In our codex it is explicitly stated, that no member of Demagog.cz can have any affiliation to political party or its youth organisation including internship in these subjects. Also every newcomer needs to sign an affidavit confirming above stated.

"Práce v týmu je neslučitelná se členstvím v politické straně, hnutí či mládežnické organizaci takovýchto subjektů. Uchazeč o práci v projektu při vstupním pohovoru podepisuje čestné prohlášení, že není zapojen do výše uvedených typů subjektů. Pokud se v průběhu své činnosti v Demagog.cz stane členem politické strany, hnutí či mládežnické organizace politického subjektu, je povinen o tomto informovat vedení projektu a ukončit své působení v rámci týmu. Stáž u Demagog.cz je rovněž neslučitelná s prací pro politické strany — myšlena je například stáž u politické strany/hnutí."

(Work in the Demagog.cz team is incompatible with any membership in political party, movement or youth organisation of these. A newcomer needs to sign an affidavit, that he/she is not involved in any way in above mentioned subjects. If while working in Demagog.cz he/she becomes a member of political party, movement or youth organisation he/she is bound to inform the board and also end his/her involvement in Demagog.cz. This rules apply for internship with political subjects as well.)

Jan Indra Assessor
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Demagog’s website clearly states that none of its members can be members of any politically active organization.

https://demagog.cz/diskuze/eticky-kodex-demagogcz

As noted in the application, each newcomer also signs an affidavit confirming its non-partisanship, although this is not explicitly stated on the website nor do the readers have access to review these documents.

Demagog has not been endorsing any political figure or a particular policy position.

A comparison of appearances in a debate/interview fact-checked in 2017 based on party allegiance. (link to the Tableau dashboard: https://public.tableau.com/views/Demagogassessment/Dashboard2?:embed=y&:display_count=yes&publish=yes)


done_all 2b marked as Fully compliant by Jan Indra.

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.cz
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago)

Firstly the transparency of sources and its importance is stated in the Code of Principles (http://demagog.cz/eticky-kodex-demagogcz):

"Každý výstup musí být založen na zjištěných a ověřených údajích. Demagog.cz je při získávání a zpracovávání informací plně podřízen imperativu zjistit a čtenářům zprostředkovat pravdivý obraz skutečnosti a v případech, kdy to pro nemožnost opatřit si všechny informace není beze zbytku uskutečnitelné, postupovat s cílem pravdě se maximálně přiblížit.

(Every outcome has to be based on found and confirmed data. Demagog.cz is bound by the imperative to provide our readers with the full, complex and data based picture of reality and in cases, when it is not possible to reach all the required information, we strive to provide all the available information.)

Demagog.cz nesmí publikovat informaci, jejíž původ není znám. Je povinen také seznámit čtenáře s každým zdrojem publikované informace.

(Demagog.cz cannot publish any information with unknown source. Also it is imperative to always provide the reader with all relevant sources of published information.)

Demagog.cz může získávat informace jen za použití poctivých a právním řádem dovolených postupů.

(Demagog.cz can acquire information only through utilisation of honest and legally approved means.)

Demagog.cz, je-li to možné a účelné, doprovází uvedení zprávy identifikací editorů/expertů, kteří za její přípravu nesou odpovědnost.

(Demagog.cz provides also the names of editors/experts, if possible, that are responsible for used analysis, report etc.)"

According to the above in every fact-check available on our website you can find all the sources with hyperlinks to initial source or file, which combined with our published methodology can be easily used by the reader to replicate our analysis.

Jan Indra Assessor
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Each claim Demagog has fact-checked has its own evidence section. The assessment of each claim is explained in detail using links to documents, statistical data or other easily accessible sources.

The policy on sources is a part of Demagog’s Code of Principles:

  • Every outcome has to be based on found and confirmed data. Demagog.cz is bound by the imperative to provide our readers with the full, complex and data based picture of reality and in cases, when it is not possible to reach all the required information, we strive to provide all the available information. 
  • Demagog.cz cannot publish any information with unknown source. Also it is imperative to always provide the reader with all relevant sources of published information. 
  • Demagog.cz can acquire information only through utilisation of honest and legally approved means. 
  • Demagog.cz provides also the names of editors/experts, if possible, that are responsible for used analysis, report etc.

done_all 3a marked as Fully compliant by Jan Indra.

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.cz
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

As the revenue of Demagog.cz has not reach an amount that would require more formal way of accounting and respective reporting,Demagog.cz publishes on the website in dedicated section “Name financování” its Annual reports and monthly statements of account, where anyone is able to find exact funding sources of our organisation. At the bottom of the page there are also mentioned organisation that support and/or cooperate with us.

https://demagog.cz/diskuze/jak-je-projekt-demagogcz-financovan

--- 

http://demagog.cz/o-nas

Jan Indra Assessor
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

On its website, Demagog CZ states that it is not financially connected to any political party or a lobbyist group. It is funded through various sources, including crowdfunding, different foundations‘ donations, grants or thanks to winning several awards. The website lists several logos of the supporting organizations (US Embassy, Visegrad Fund) and Demagog’s partners (zakonyprolidi.cz, Newton Media).

Throughout the last year, Demagog has also set up a transparent bank account where anybody can see all the money received by Demagog and their origin.

https://www.rb.cz/o-nas/povinne-uverejnovane-informace/transparentni-ucty?mvcPath=transactions&accountNumber=9711283001

However, Demagog does not provide its readers with any detailed summary of its revenues or donors. Furthermore, its business registry entry does not contain any published financial documents or annual reports. While anybody could research the bank account and its money flows, in order to fully comply I recommend creating a page with a more thorough decription of Demagog’s finances and major supporters. Lastly, while the website states the form of organization of Demagog, it does not provide any additional information on how that impacts its disclosure of information.


done 4a marked as Partially compliant by Jan Indra.

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.cz
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

In section "O nás -> O Demagog.cz” there is general description of the project and list of all its members. Each member has an assigned position within the project: “ Koordinátor (coordinator)/Projektový manager (project manager)/Metodolog (methodologist)/Expert (expert/ka)/Korektor (proofreader)/Vývoj redakčního system (IT support)/Stážista (intern). Beside the position, there is a brief description about the person and his/her activity within the project. Plus for the coordinator and project, there is phone number and email address.

---

http://demagog.cz/o-nas

Jan Indra Assessor
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago)

The website of Demagog lists all the people involved in the project. However, it only lists the names without any biographies or a description of the existing hierarchy (founders, managers, etc.). I recommend adding at least a concise bio on each member involved in the fact-checking initiative.


done 4b marked as Partially compliant by Jan Indra.

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

Demagog.cz
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago)

There is a dedicated contacts page available now, including PR contact and mail to address to provide feedback for our evaluation:

https://demagog.cz/diskuze/kontakty

---

http://demagog.cz/kontakty

Jan Indra Assessor
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago)

While Demagog’s website page linked in the application lists an e-mail address and a phone number of one of its board members, the page itself is hard to navigate to and not clearly indicated on the website. Besides that, there are no other contact information, only a widget showing Demagog’s FB page. I would prefer to see the contact information right upon visiting the website (e.g. via the page’s footer) or being clearly navigated to a „contact us“ section on the website.


done 4c marked as Partially compliant by Jan Indra.

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.cz
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago)
Jan Indra Assessor
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago)

The methodology is clearly and thoroughly explained on the website.

https://demagog.cz/diskuze/jak-hodnotime-metodika


done_all 5a marked as Fully compliant by Jan Indra.

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.cz
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

As mentioned in previous point, anyone can contact us in regards to our evaluation of fact-checking statements (https://demagog.cz/diskuze/kontakty) and there is also a dedicated section on the website explaining how this process works.

https://demagog.cz/diskuze/mam-vyhradu-k-hodnoceni-nebo-navrh-na-overeni-kam-se-mohu-obra

To address the second part of the assessment, Demagog.cz used to have an initiative for people to send us factual claims, that we would fact-check. After three to four years this option was decommissioned as the interest of public was very low.

---

Due to low interest of public this option is no longer available. 

Jan Indra Assessor
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago)

Demagog encourages its audience to contact them with any remarks regarding the assessment of the claims fact-checked.

However, the website does not state Demagog would be open for submissions of claims to be fact-checked since it chooses the debates and all other public apperances to be fact-checked itself.


done 5b marked as Partially compliant by Jan Indra.

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.cz
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago)
Jan Indra Assessor
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago)

While the website extensively describes Demagog’s methodology, there is not a separate section or paragraph dedicated to the corrections policy. I recommend including the corrections policy in the „code of ethics“ section on the website.


done 6a marked as Partially compliant by Jan Indra.

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

Demagog.cz
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago)

http://demagog.cz/diskusie/371/#13107

The newly provided data was reviewed as per our stated process, added to our explanation and highlighted in the beginning of our explanation on the website indicating adjustment of the evaluation was done and why.

http://demagog.cz/diskusie/437/#14984

In this second example we again followed our procedure and although we couldn't change the outcome of our analysis as the facts still indicated that it is untrue, we published the additional explanation from the politician to provide our readers with the full picture.

Jan Indra Assessor
17-Jul-2018 (4 months ago)

The links provided in the application pointing to a several examples of corrections unfortunately do not work. However, in a different instance (https://demagog.cz/diskuze/oprava-a-omluva), Demagog has corrected several of its mistakes, shown where it was mistaken and publicly apologized for making a mistake.


done_all 6b marked as Fully compliant by Jan Indra.