Istinomer

Organization: Istinomer
Applicant: Rasa Nedeljkov
Assessor: Ivana Jeremic
Edits made by the organization after this assessment

IFCN Staff wrote:

The organization added an explanation about funding in its About Us section with a link to the most recent financial report.


Conclusion and recommendations
on 04-Oct-2017 (1 year ago)

Ivana Jeremic wrote:

An overall look at the evidences Istinomer has sent, gives me the impression that they’re fulfilling most of the criteria. They publish reports according to the Code of Ethics of Serbian journalists and their methodology is quite simple and well explained. When it comes to the transparency of their funding, it can and it should be improved in a way that is clear which Istinomer projects are funded by a certain donor for what period of time and should include other relevant information. This way it’s hard to separate Istinomer donors from CRTA’s donors which have different activities. Istinomer has a fair reputation in Serbia and is well known as a first fact-checking center of that kind in the region. For most of the criteria I left comments of what can be improved if necessary.

on 04-Oct-2017 (1 year ago)

Ivana Jeremic 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.

Istinomer
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago)

We are sending registration document to factchecknet@poynter.org.

See attachment

Files Attached
1a 1- Istinomer Trad... (4 MB) picture_as_pdf 1a 2 - Istinomer_s r... (923 KB)
Ivana Jeremic Assessor
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago)

Istinomer is legally registered in the Registry of Public Media. Registry in Serbia doesn’t publish the exact purpose of the media (e.g. Fact-checking). Based on their website it’s mainly a fact-checking section. Beside fact-checking they publish interviews and similar forms of reporting.


done_all 1a marked as Fully compliant by Ivana Jeremic.

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.

Istinomer
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago)

Here is the link with all Istinomer’s fact checks published in the previous six months (we aren’t able to send link for three months period).

http://www.istinomer.rs/pregled_ocena/tipovi,3,4,5/period,6_months/pstr,10/strana,1/

Ivana Jeremic Assessor
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago) Updated: 11 months ago

There was only one case which doesn’t fit the criteria of the average of at least 1 report per week - 12 days without a report in November (3-15). For the rest of the 3 month period there were various reports up to 4 per week. 


done_all 1b marked as Fully compliant by Ivana Jeremic.

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.

Istinomer
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago) Updated: 11 months ago

We strive to use uniform standards and methodology for each fact check in order to ensure objectivity and fairness. We rate political figures and government officials focusing on the topic and statements of great importance to the public. Political affiliations of the people we rate play no role in our fact checks, but verifiable facts only.

We do focus on public officials, whether appointed or elected, as they have the opportunity to exercise power and should be accountable to the public. However, Istinomer has also rated different opposition politicians’ statements and constantly collects their promises. We also try to provide in-depth analysis based on multiple sources, as well as missing context as certain statements may be true, but misleading when taken out of the bigger picture.

During 2016 and 2017 Istinomer team evaluated 224 statements from more than 30 public officials and politicians:

  1. http://www.istinomer.rs/ocena/3344/Imamo%20manje%20stoke%20nego%201910.%20godine 
  2. http://www.istinomer.rs/ocena/3356/Proizvodnja%20u%20FAP-u%20od%20septembra%202014 
  3. http://www.istinomer.rs/ocena/3369/SNS%20ispunila%20sve%20što%20je%20obećala 
  4. http://www.istinomer.rs/ocena/3371/Nema%20novih%20investicija 
  5. http://www.istinomer.rs/ocena/3423/Penzioneri%20više%20umiru%20zbog%20smanjenja%20penzija 
  6. http://www.istinomer.rs/ocena/3507/U%20celoj%20Evropi%20samo%20Srbija%20beleži%20rast 
  7. http://www.istinomer.rs/ocena/3492/U%20Hercegovačkoj%20niko%20nije%20vezivan 
  8. http://www.istinomer.rs/ocena/3465/Počeli%20radovi%20na%20pruzi%20Stara%20Pazova-Novi%20Sad 
  9. http://www.istinomer.rs/ocena/3593/Do%20marta%20sistem%20elektronskog%20prijavljivanja%20beba 
  10. http://www.istinomer.rs/ocena/3683/Ne%20pada%20mi%20na%20pamet%20da%20se%20kandidujem%20za%20predsednika

We urge our readers to point out to important claims or promises we could check in the future in order to ensure more diversity of topics for our fact checks.

Ivana Jeremic Assessor
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago)

Istinomer cover mainly public officials, who in reality have the most media reach. Besides that, they focus on the opposition leaders and high ranking politicians. Sometimes they go deep in the past to fact-check a certain claims, e.g. before the mandate and during the mandate of the official. For most of the reports they use the same structure of the report.


done_all 2a marked as Fully compliant by Ivana Jeremic.

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.

Istinomer
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago)

Istinomer is a member of Press council, an independent, self-regulatory body that brings together publishers, owners of print and online media, news agencies and media professionals. As a member organization Istinomer is obliged to respect and to actively promote the Journalist’s Code of Ethics. Beside many fields of journalists and media work that this Code covers, prevention of corruption and conflict of interest is one of the most important (section III of the Code). Based on the above, Journalist’s Code of Ethics is integral part of Istinomer’s policies for preventing political involvement of Istinomer journalists and editors.

SECTION III/6

“Work in PR and marketing agencies, lobbying agencies, public bodies and institutions, and political parties, is incompatible with the profession.

Guidelines:

• Participation in a political, electoral or a media campaign (political parties / companies, and other) cannot be performed simultaneously with journalistic / editorial work. The political activity of the family members of journalists / editors could also cause real or apparent conflict of interest.”

Ivana Jeremic Assessor
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago)

Having in mind they’re policy of prevention of any political activism and involvement of their staff, it doesn’t seem likely that Istinomer can be involved in some kind of an orginized political campaign. It’s also forbidden for their staff to “work in PR and marketing agencies, lobbying agencies, public bodies and institutions, and political parties”


done_all 2b marked as Fully compliant by Ivana Jeremic.

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.

Istinomer
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago) Updated: 11 months ago

All the statements Istinomer rate are verbatim quotes published in different media outlets. We tend to use video materials when possible in order to avoid misquoting and misinterpretation. We always contact people we rate to request further information about the given statement, whether it be comment or data.

We also contact responsible institutions in a search for data. We use publicly available information, but we have repeatedly used FOI requests to obtain certain documents and contracts, which were not made public prior to our request. We upload full documents we obtained during the fact check process and whenever possible we also link to different sources of information cited in the text in order to enable readers to verify the data themselves and decide whether they agree with the rating or not.

We analyze reports of domestic and international institutions and think thanks, search credible databases and consult experts in different fields, university professors, NGOs. No conclusion in our fact checks could be made based on unnamed sources, as we use on-the-record sources and official documents.

We have developed internal methodology in this regard and all the members of the team underwent thorough training on how to find credible sources and make conclusion solely based on verifiable facts, which should also be transparent for our readers. 

Ivana Jeremic Assessor
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago)

It’s quite easy to fact-check some of the reports Istinomer publishes by comparing evidences. If the report is based on the document or some deep analyses it is well described how they came to that conclusion with graphics and other visualizations.


done_all 3a marked as Fully compliant by Ivana Jeremic.

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.

Istinomer
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago)

Istinomer is initiative of Serbian NGO CRTA which can be seen in registration doc that we are sending as integral part of this application. Istinomer is financed by projects mainly from international donor organizations. To preserve non-partisanship and unbiased reporting CRTA don’t apply for any grant that is financed from state or municipality budgets. All financial audit reports of CRTA are public and can be found on CRTA web site - http://crta.rs/sr/ko-smo-mi/ (on the page bottom)

Ivana Jeremic Assessor
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago)

On the web page there are information of donors for CRTA which is the NGO who founded Istinomer. In fact it’s not clear what amount of money is entitled to Istinomer by the single project. It should be listed clearly with all the other relevant information.


done 4a marked as Partially compliant by Ivana Jeremic.

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.

Istinomer
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Here is the Istinomer’s impressum (on the page bottom - section TIM ISTINOMERA). http://www.istinomer.rs/o-istinomeru 

Short biographies can be found here, among other CRTA employees. http://crta.rs/en/who-we-are/

Ivana Jeremic Assessor
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago)

Biographies can be found only on CRTA’s website, among all the activists and fact-checkers and journalists.


done 4b marked as Partially compliant by Ivana Jeremic.

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

Istinomer
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago)
Ivana Jeremic Assessor
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago)

It’s quite easy to reach management of Istinomer in order to complain or leave a comment.


done_all 4c marked as Fully compliant by Ivana Jeremic.

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.

Istinomer
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago) Updated: 11 months ago

On this page (http://www.istinomer.rs/o-istinomeru) we have a general explanation of the Istinomer's work, methodology and statement evaluations. In Criterion 3 you can also find more about methodology. Istinomer also have internal procedures regarding methodology that explains steps in creation of Istinomer's fact checks. This internal procedures oblige Istinomer journalists: to contact the actor for comment, always to refer on official information/research/statistical data (when is possible), to contact the expert (individual or organisation) for more information about researched topic, to follow the copyright rules (especially with photos) etc.  

Ivana Jeremic Assessor
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago)

Main part of the procedure is described on their website; the only thing that should be more explained is how they pick the claim of the day. Is it the top news in all the other media? Also they explain how the citizens can participate which is very innovative and useful.


done_all 5a marked as Fully compliant by Ivana Jeremic.

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.

Istinomer
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago) Updated: 11 months ago

We constantly invite readers to get involved in fact checking process by sending statements that they want to be evaluated or by proposing the topics for deep dive research (http://www.istinomer.rs/clanak/1681/Powered-by-citaoci). We have developed and launched the unique crowdsourcing tool “ProveriMe/fact check me” (http://www.istinomer.rs/clanak/1650/Proveri-me), which allows users to collect statements published on different online media platforms and easily nominate statements for fact-checking. As a result of deepening cooperation with Danas daily (danas.rs) and TV N1 (rs.n1info.com) websites Istinomer team succeed to post the "Istinomer button" on these websites and provide their readers with easy to use fact-checking function. On every page on Danas and N1 websites there is a field that readers can use for proposing the topics and statements to Istinomer team. Readers also use Istinomer’s social network channels (Facebook and Twitter) for submitting the claims for analysis. 

Ivana Jeremic Assessor
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago)

As well on their website readers can suggest claims on two different media websites as well, so it gives the impression that readers can have a big role in the whole process of fact-checking.


done_all 5b marked as Fully compliant by Ivana Jeremic.

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.

Istinomer
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago) Updated: 11 months ago

On our website, we have publically committed ourselves (http://www.istinomer.rs/o-istinomeru) to respecting Code of Ethics of Serbian Journalists in order to maintain highest professional standards, including those on correction policy. We are also obliged to respect the Law on Public Information and Media, which envisaged procedure for corrections in detail, which we fully respect. 

Ivana Jeremic Assessor
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago)

In the “about us” section they have an explanation of what happens if they make a mistake, and they admit it happens sometimes, which is quite honest to their readers.


done_all 6a marked as Fully compliant by Ivana Jeremic.

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

Istinomer
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago) Updated: 11 months ago

  1. http://www.istinomer.rs/ocena/3673/Smene-direktora-javnih-preduzeca-do-Nove-godine - In this first example, former director of the state company Elektromreze Srbije, requested correction of an article wrongly saying he resigned from the post, while he left the company after his term came to an end. Even though original article contained quote of him saying his term was over, Istinomer published the correction below the text with the link to a full response. 
  2. http://www.istinomer.rs/clanak/1662/Mapa-preletaca-na-lokalu - After one local branch of the Social Democratic Party left the organization, in a text listing numerous examples of flyovers, Istinomer said the members of this branch also joined ruling Progressive Party before it was officially confirmed. After spotting this mistake, we have added the correction explaining what was amended. In a meantime, members of this branch also denied joining another party, but after several days local party chief confirmed they did join Progressives. After the official announcement, we added another update elaborating the change. 

Ivana Jeremic Assessor
01-Jun-2017 (2 years ago)

Istinomer provided two examples in which the corrections were made according to the rules of Code of Ethics of Serbian journalists.


done_all 6b marked as Fully compliant by Ivana Jeremic.