Istinomjer

Organization: Istinomjer
Applicant: Danira Karovic
Assessor: Ivana Jeremic
Conclusion and recommendations
on 18-Sep-2019 (6 months ago)

Ivana Jeremic wrote:

Istinomjer is a very well known fact-checking platform in Bosnia, but also in the Balkans. They fulfil most of the criteria completely so I have no doubt we should accept their application. There is of course space for the improvement, and I hope they will go through my comments and adopt some of the suggestions. Keep up the good work! 

on 18-Sep-2019 (6 months ago)

Ivana Jeremic 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.

Istinomjer
02-Sep-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

Istinomjer is an online platform for monitoring and evaluation of accountability of public office holders, political parties in power and political actors in general. Istinomjer is the project developed and edited by the Civic Association "Why not?".

http://zastone.ba/en/programs/responsible-government/istinomjer/

CA “Why Not” is a legal entity registered in the register of civic associations within the Ministry of Justice of FBiH on January 9th 2001 under No. 56, Book 1 of the register, with registration number 03-054-992/97-2. Scanned copy of the Decision on the Registration, along with the Statute of the organization will be sent separately through the email.

Istinomjer (http://istinomjer.ba/) started its work in August 2010, when the results of the fulfillment of the pre-election promises for the mandate of 2006-2010 were presented.

Ivana Jeremic Assessor
18-Sep-2019 (6 months ago)

The applicant does produce fact-checks and is tied to Why Not CA. However, I haven't received documents they've mentioned, such as the Decision on the Registration and the Statute of the organization. Please send forward them to me.


done 1a marked as Partially 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.

Istinomjer
02-Sep-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

Main page

http://istinomjer.ba/ 

Articles rating the fulfillment of promises*

http://istinomjer.ba/obecanja-page/ - 140 articles in the previous three months.

* In the time since the last evaluation, we have added a new rating in this section, which indicates that we have recorded some activity in the promises we track, but that the promise is not yet fulfilled. The rating is “In the works” and it has been added to the methodology as well.

Articles rating the consistency of public officials’ statements

http://istinomjer.ba/dosljednost-page/ - 13 articles in the previous three months.

Articles rating the truthfulness of public officials’ statements

http://istinomjer.ba/istinitost-page/ - 19 articles in the previous three months.

Analysis

http://istinomjer.ba/analize/ - 20 articles in the previous three months.

Videos

http://istinomjer.ba/tv-istinomjer/ - 28 videos in the previous three months.

Monitoring of pre-election promises (General elections and Local elections)

Last update and progress report on fulfillment of pre-election promises of town/municipal mayors was done in November 2018. After that we did 100 days of Government of Republika Srpska and 100 days of Government of Kanton Sarajevo in April 2019.

Ivana Jeremic Assessor
18-Sep-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The applicant has published more than one article per week, covering different categories within their categories. 


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.

Istinomjer
02-Sep-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

Istinomjer treats every political party and political option in BiH alike and applies the same standards and methodology when fact-checking accuracy of claims made by all sides of political spectrum.

BiH’s is a very complex political system, where numerous parties and candidates compete in general elections (on cantonal, entity and state level) and local elections (municipal level and Brčko District). This administrative division, paired with ethnic divide (both inherent to the constitutive system and practiced in everyday politics) produces a divided media sphere, where political actors usually receive different treatment based on their relation to these factors (administrative level and ethnic group).

Istinomjer, however, fact-checks statements from across the political spectrum in BiH, applying the same standards and methodology to claims made by all political actors. We also track campaign promises of all the political parties in ruling coalitions on the two top administrative levels (12 parties in the previous term, 5 in the term before that and 9 in the current term) and promises of mayors of several municipalities from both entities and from 4 different cantons. These are all competing (and often belligerent) political actors, coming from different ethnopolitical and ideological backgrounds and all are tracked and rated in the same way.

Considering that we can not fact-check all of the statements and promises, we choose those that are newsworthy in terms of dealing with current “hot topics” and issues that affect people’s lives, or those that have weight for citizens as voters (particularly when following pre-election campaigns).

We are nonpartisan and strive to be impartial when drawing attention to the inaccurate statements of all political actors. However, as our work is centered around promotion of political accountability, it is inevitably focused more on some political actors than the others. Specifically, we put stronger focus on the parties and political figures who hold executive power, particularly since we also track these parties’ pre-election promises. We also encourage the readers to point us to the possible false statements, unfulfilled promises, or any other relevant “fact-checking material” that we might have missed.

Links to examples of our fact checks, proving the scope and consistency of our work, can be found below:


Examples of statements rated for truthfulness:

https://istinomjer.ba/rezolucija-o-vojnoj-neutralnosti-rs-nije-obavezujuca/

https://istinomjer.ba/prosjecne-plate-i-penzije-u-fbih-nisu-vece-za-20-u-odnosu-na-rs/

https://istinomjer.ba/dodik-o-popularnosti-donalda-trumpa/

https://istinomjer.ba/zdk-nije-prvi-po-izvozu-iz-bih/

https://istinomjer.ba/podrska-gradjana-zenice-na-lokalnim-i-opstim-izborima-demantuje-kasumovica/ 

Examples of statements rated for consistency:

https://istinomjer.ba/magazinovic-odlucan-u-borbi-protiv-odlaganja-nuklearnog-otpada-na-trgovskoj-gori/ 

https://istinomjer.ba/protiv-sda-pa-sa-sda/ 

https://istinomjer.ba/radoncicev-skok-u-vlast/ 

https://istinomjer.ba/dodik-se-pitao-zasto-armija-ne-moze-stati-na-granicu/ 

https://istinomjer.ba/promjena-prioriteta-sda-u-kantonu-sarajevo/ 

Examples of ratings for promise fulfillment:

https://istinomjer.ba/jos-uvijek-nista-od-preispitivanja-naziva-entiteta-republika-srpska/ 

https://istinomjer.ba/pravilnik-o-vodjenju-registra-samostalnih-umjetnika-i-strucnjaka-iz-oblasti-kulture-u-rs-stupio-na-snagu/

https://istinomjer.ba/izgradnja-termobloka-7-u-te-tuzla-nije-zapocela-u-prvobitno-najavljenom-roku/ 

https://istinomjer.ba/prosjecna-plata-u-republici-srpskoj-iznosice-500-eura/

Examples of analysis:

https://istinomjer.ba/sta-nakon-odustajanja-mup-a-rs-od-formiranja-rezervnog-sastava/ 

https://istinomjer.ba/hoce-li-se-pristup-problemu-odlaganja-otpada-u-bih-promijeniti-nakon-slucaja-deponije-uborak/ 

https://istinomjer.ba/ustav-bih-i-konvencije-o-ljudskim-pravima-na-strani-prve-bh-povorke-ponosa/

https://istinomjer.ba/hoce-li-bih-zastiti-svoje-gradjane-slucaj-trgovska-gora/

https://istinomjer.ba/u-nestasici-citostatika-ulogu-ima-i-vlada-fbih/

Ivana Jeremic Assessor
18-Sep-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Istinomjer fact-checks tackle many different topics and politicians'/officials' claims giving the audience an objective insight on the accuracy of their statements.


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.

Istinomjer
02-Sep-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

We have a strict employment policy, where we check background of employees during job application, so no one working within our organization, especially Istinomjer cannot engage in partisan political activity or make contributions to candidates or advocacy organizations.

Our previous and current activities, performed both within the Istinomjer and the entire organization, have always been independent from any political influence, as well as from our own personal political and other beliefs. Our work is solely funded by international organizations and embassies, who share our belief in the objectivity, impartiality and influence on public opinion.

As an organization, we engage in promoting government transparency and political accountability, so we always did and will always support policies and legislation that helps Bosnian society move towards more transparent and accountable governance, regardless of which political party or person introduces these policies or legislation.

Ivana Jeremic Assessor
18-Sep-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Istinomjer has strict policies, at least according to what they claimed in their application when it comes to hiring people and their engagement in political parties. They have not endorsed any candidate so far, and a simple overlook of their website proves they pick various topics regardless of political parties and politicians.


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.

Istinomjer
02-Sep-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

All our articles contain hyperlinks to source material used for evaluation of statements or promises, making them available for the readers to check. Istinomjer has a regular practice of archiving all used sources and using links to archived material in our articles, to keep them permanently available.

We will try to contact the person or institution whose statement we value in order to get their comment on the topic in question, except in cases where the truthfulness and consistency of statements, or fulfillment of promises that we assess, are beyond doubt. We also seek expert opinions when educated insight is required for more precise assessments.

We continuously track and collect: reports on government and parliamentary sessions; reports on activities of Ministers and various government agencies; laws and regulations which are proposed and passed in Parliaments; official strategies and plans; media reports on government activities; statistical data; public budgets; reports by reputable CSOs or international organizations (watchdogs, think-thanks, international bodies which research and monitor different processes in BiH, etc.). This helps us trace the progress (or stagnation) on various processes in the country and allows us to quickly and efficiently evaluate given statement or promise.

Our policy is publicly available on our website, on the link below:

http://istinomjer.ba/o-istinomjeru/ 

Ivana Jeremic Assessor
18-Sep-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Istinomjer has a clear methodology on linking sources and it is available on their website on a separate page, but also in all the articles, there are links provided.


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.

Istinomjer
02-Sep-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago
The required information can be found on the link below: http://istinomjer.ba/o-istinomjeru/
Ivana Jeremic Assessor
18-Sep-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Istinomjer has a separate page where it's available for the public to get to know more about their ownership and funding. Also, their donor is listed, as well as an overview of spendings in the last 3 years.


done_all 4a marked as Fully 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.

Istinomjer
02-Sep-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago
The required information can be found on the link below: http://istinomjer.ba/istinomjer-tim/ 
Ivana Jeremic Assessor
18-Sep-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

There is a separate page with the list of Istinomjer's team, their roles and biographies. 


done_all 4b marked as Fully compliant by Ivana Jeremic.

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

Istinomjer
02-Sep-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago
Ivana Jeremic Assessor
18-Sep-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

There is a contact form on a separate page with a clear instructions, as well as their email on other pages related to the team.


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.

Istinomjer
02-Sep-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago
The link below provides detailed methodology of our fact-checking work. If necessary, methodology can be translated into English and provided to you. http://istinomjer.ba/metodologija/ 
Ivana Jeremic Assessor
18-Sep-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Istinomjer's methodology is clear and available to the public.


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.

Istinomjer
02-Sep-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

Readers can submit requests for fact-checks of claims made by political actors by filling the form that is especially prepared for these purposes, which is easily accessible and visible on the main page of our website. Please see link below: http://istinomjer.ba/pitajte-istinomjer/ Readers can also submit requests for fact-checks of claims made by political actors by sending us an email with the claim, which is stated on the main page of our website. Also, our readers can contact us through our Facebook page and ask for the specific claim to be checked. Since this channel of communication ha usually been used the most for such purposes in the past, we have a “pinned” post (always visible on top of the page) encouraging readers to contact us with questions and suggestions. Please see link below: https://www.facebook.com/Istinomjer/posts/2056717004359621 Readers can also participate in the monitoring of the pre-election promises, by sending us their inputs on fulfillment of each individual promise. Every promise has a form which can be used to submit additional data about that promise. Please check the link below for an example: https://istinomjer.ba/predizborna-obecanja/sistematski-skrining-oboljenja/

Ivana Jeremic Assessor
18-Sep-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

There is a form on their website where readers can share links, documents and write a description of the claim or promise they would like to be checked or not. However, there are no guidelines of what is consider as a possible material for fact-check and what will be rejected as a proposal.


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.

Istinomjer
02-Sep-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

Our correction policy can be found on the link below: http://istinomjer.ba/o-istinomjeru/

Ivana Jeremic Assessor
18-Sep-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Istinomjer has a correction policy explanation available on their website.


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.

Istinomjer
02-Sep-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

During the previous year, we did not have any corrections.  We are very careful when publishing articled so we 

Ivana Jeremic Assessor
18-Sep-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The organization didn't have corrections last year, however, they haven't provided examples from previous years. 


done 6b marked as Partially compliant by Ivana Jeremic.

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.