Istinomjer

Organization: Istinomjer
Applicant: Danira Karovic
Assessor: Milica Šarić
Conclusion and recommendations
on 17-Aug-2018 (1 year ago)

Milica Šarić wrote:

Accept Istinomjer’s application.

Changes were made after last year’s assessment, and now this organization fully respects the code of principles.

on 17-Aug-2018 (1 year ago)

Milica Šarić 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
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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

Milica Šarić Assessor
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

 Istinomjer is a fact-checking project of “Why not”, and “Why not” is registered as the association of citizens. According to their Statute, “Why not” is a non-governmental organization that consists of activists promoting culture of peace, art, democracy, human rights etc.

Looking at documents of the association (Decision on Registration and Statute), there is no evidence fact-checking is among their predominant activities.

However, website of the Istinomjer project is filled with fact-checking content, so it does comply with required “distinct fact-checking section”.


done_all 1a marked as Fully compliant by Milica Šarić.

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
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Main page

http://istinomjer.ba/

Articles rating the fulfillment of promises*

http://istinomjer.ba/obecanja-page/ - 35 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/ - 24 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/ - 21 articles in the previous three months.

Videos

http://istinomjer.ba/tv-istinomjer/ - 18 videos in the previous three months.

Monitoring of pre-election promises (General elections)

http://istinomjer.ba/rezultati-pretrage/?_sft_period=2010-2014

Last update and progress report on fulfillment of pre-election promises for the Government of Republika Srpska was done and published in December 2017. Progress report on fulfilment of pre-election promises for the Government of Federation of BiH and Council of Ministers BiH will be published at the end of March 2018.

After we publish progress report in March, all promises will be updated on the web site.

Monitoring of pre-election promises (Local elections)

http://istinomjer.ba/lokalni-izbori-2016/

Last update and progress report on fulfillment of pre-election promises of town/municipal mayors was done in November 2017.

Milica Šarić Assessor
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Istinomjer evaluates the accuracy of claims, after which it publishes reports.

For the past three months (late December – late March) in the section of website “Izjave” (Statements) there were 92 reports. That number of reports goes beyond requested – with approximately one report a week.

Other than that Istinomjer’s website contains a page named “TV Istinomjer” where fact-checked claims are explained through videos. One more manner of evaluating distinct claims is through monitoring of pre-election promises, where Istinomjer gives short comments and evaluations of statements during elections campaigns. Also, Istinomjer fulfills its aim with section “Analize” (Analysis) where it publishes in depth stories about society issues.


done_all 1b marked as Fully compliant by Milica Šarić.

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
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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:

http://istinomjer.ba/sakib-softic-nije-bio-ovlasten-da-zastupa-bih-pred-msp-u-hagu/, 10.3.2017.

http://istinomjer.ba/zenevska-konvencija-ne-nalaze-pomilovanje-za-ratne-zlocine/, 20.4.2017.

http://istinomjer.ba/pogledali-smo-slike-premijer-definitivno-laze/, 12.5.2017.

http://istinomjer.ba/poslovnik-nsrs-istine-neistine-vukota-govedarica-branislav-borenovic/, 18.9.2017.

http://istinomjer.ba/zvizdicevo-dvostruko-vise-zapravo-je-dvostruko-manje/, 10.6.2017.

http://istinomjer.ba/revizorski-izvjestaji-pokazali-budzet-fbih-nije-u-suficitu/, 10.10.2017.

http://istinomjer.ba/rs-imala-najveci-rast-bdp-u-2016-godini-u-odnosu-na-region/, 13.10.2017.

Examples of statements rated for consistency:

http://istinomjer.ba/bakir-izetbegovic-o-korupciji-nepotizmu/ 26.4.2017.

http://istinomjer.ba/poticaji-u-poljoprivredi-para-ima-nema-bice-mozda-nece/ 24.1.2018

http://istinomjer.ba/covic-svaki-covjek-nam-je-bitan-osim-njih-22-hiljade/ 26.1.2018.

Examples of ratings for promise fulfillment:

http://istinomjer.ba/rezultat-moratorija-na-zaposljavanje-za-godinu-dana-460-novih-zaposlenih-na-budzetu-federacije/ 13.3.2017.

http://istinomjer.ba/pasosa-ce-biti-odgovornosti-dalje-nema/ 6.4.2017.

http://istinomjer.ba/robne-rezerve-rs-ugasene-bez-ikakvog-pokusaja-najavljene-reorganizacije/ 5.8.2017.

http://istinomjer.ba/uklanjanje-bespravno-postavljenih-reklama-na-bascarsiji-kraja-augusta/ 21.9.2017.

http://istinomjer.ba/jos-nema-skole-za-djecu-sa-poteskocama-u-razvoju/ 9.11.2017.

http://istinomjer.ba/rs-od-1-janura-najniza-plata-iznosi-410-km/ 28.2.2018.

Examples of analysis:*

http://istinomjer.ba/sluzbena-vozila-predsjednistva-bih-javno-vlasnistvo-tajna-pravila/ 7.6.2017

http://istinomjer.ba/sluzbena-vozila-predsjednistva-bih-javno-vlasnistvo-tajna-pravila-ii/ 8.6.2017.

http://istinomjer.ba/pravilnik-predsjednistva-bih-o-koristenju-sluzbenih-vozila-konacno-dostupan-javnosti/ 19.7.2017.

* The three articles all follow the same topic we researched

Milica Šarić Assessor
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

(a) links to ten fact checks proving scope and consistency of fact-checking accompanied by a short explanation of how the organization strives to maintain standards. The assessors reserve the right to select examples beyond the ten fact checks. (b) policy regarding advocacy/political positions from the organization and its staff. Checked samples of Istinomjer’s published work confirm that Istinomjer fact-checks a variety of subjects and speakers. Reports are about public figures from different political parties, and focus is on the importance and relevancy of what is said rather than who said it, and there is no visible sign of favoritism.


done_all 2a marked as Fully compliant by Milica Šarić.

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
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

No one working in Istinomjer should or does 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.

Milica Šarić Assessor
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

There is no sign of an obvious candidate support in any election nor taking stands on any issues not strictly related to fact-checking.

There is no indication of direct involvement of "Why not?" employees in any political party or advocacy group, though I should emphasize the only available proof for this matter is applicant’s statement.


done_all 2b marked as Fully compliant by Milica Šarić.

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
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 is currently introducing 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/ 

Milica Šarić Assessor
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Istinomjer uses links within reports to meet its readers with sources of claims and also sources of evidence used for fact-checking. It does so in every report I checked, with more than satisfying number of links.

Also, there is an important progress in the manner of linking sources since last year – significant amount of sources is now linked through webpage capture website archive.is, as a good way to store sources permanently, independently of their original webpages.

I recommend doing so everywhere possible.


done_all 3a marked as Fully compliant by Milica Šarić.

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
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The required information can be found on the link below: http://istinomjer.ba/o-istinomjeru/

Milica Šarić Assessor
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Istinomjer has made visible very clearly its budgets from 2010 (when Istinomjer was founded) until 2018 (2018th included).

Costs in 2017 and 2018 (I suppose planned costs for this year) are also detailed on its website, under “O Istinomjeru”.

It has also presented distinctively its financier, and the form in which the organization is registered – as a non-profit media.


done_all 4a marked as Fully compliant by Milica Šarić.

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
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The required information can be found on the link below: http://istinomjer.ba/istinomjer-tim/ 

Milica Šarić Assessor
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Authors are listed on a separate page of Istinomjer’s website, with short biographies of each team member. It is also noted the project is developed and regulated by the Association of Citizens "Why not".


done_all 4b marked as Fully compliant by Milica Šarić.

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

Istinomjer
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Milica Šarić Assessor
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

It is very accessible for readers to file complaints or comments to Istinomjer. Beneath authors’ biographies (http://istinomjer.ba/istinomjer-tim/ ) email addresses of all team member can be found. Also, readers can find email address of Istinomjer, and also phone number and email address of “Why not” at the bottom of home page.

There is a page named “contact” for easier access to the information, and an option to ask Istinomjer to fact-check a claim at http://istinomjer.ba/pitajte-istinomjer/ .


done_all 4c marked as Fully compliant by Milica Šarić.

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
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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/ 

Milica Šarić Assessor
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The signatory explains its fact-checking methodology publicly and clearly in an accessible place – at the bottom of home page.


done_all 5a marked as Fully compliant by Milica Šarić.

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
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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/1717539171610741 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: http://istinomjer.ba/predizborna-obecanja/zavrsenje-zapocetih-a-nedovrsenih-projekata/

Milica Šarić Assessor
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

It is easy to find on the website how to send claims for Istinomjer to check. Also, it is shown what readers can legitimately expect will be fact-checked and what isn’t fact-checkable (http://istinomjer.ba/metodologija/ ).


done_all 5b marked as Fully compliant by Milica Šarić.

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
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

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

Milica Šarić Assessor
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Istinomjer has clearly explained its public corrections policy. It calls for every subject of fact-checking to react to Istinomjer’s reports if needed, providing explanations and facts challenging those reports (claims). After verifying those explanations / facts, Istinomjer will publish the result, and if an error was made, it will be publicly acknowledged and corrected.


done_all 6a marked as Fully compliant by Milica Šarić.

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

Istinomjer
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

In the past year, Istinomjer received only two requests for correction of the statements contained in the texts that were published.

First request was sent by the French Embassy in Sarajevo, regarding the following article: http://istinomjer.ba/sarajevska-hagada-ponovo-medju-gradjanima-bosne-hercegovine/

In our article, originally we have stated the following:

“The collaboration between the Louvre Museum in Paris and the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, announced at the end of April 2017, has been implemented in this segment.”

The French Embassy pointed out that the renovation of the Hagada room had nothing to do with the Louvre Museum and that it was paid entirely by the French Embassy, and implemented by UNESCO. There is indeed a partnership between the Louvre and the National Museum of BiH, but on a different project, so Louvre museum did not participate in this particular renovation.

We immediately corrected the information in the article and forwarded the corrected article to the Embassy. Due to the fact that this correction did not impacted mark given in the article and that the Embassy did not request a demanti (they only wanted the specified part to be corrected), the article was not re-published again.

The second request for correction was sent by the organization “Caritas Switzerland”, regarding the following article:

http://istinomjer.ba/malisani-iz-osjetljivih-marginalizovanih-drustvenih-grupa-dobit-ce-putujuci-vrtic/

The article is about a promise of the Cantonal Minister of Education on the establishment of a “traveling kindergarten” for children from marginalized groups, in cooperation with Caritas. The project was supposed to start in 2018 and the ministry’s response showed that the announced steps haven’t been taken in the given deadline, so we rated the promise as unfulfilled.

We have also contacted “Caritas” in Sarajevo, but got a response that they aren’t familiar with the project and couldn’t connect us with a person in charge of its implementation (emails available upon request).

After we published the article, we received an email from Caritas Switzerland saying that we made incorrect conclusions from the information we received from the Ministry. They claimed that the promise is not “unfulfilled”, but rather “prolonged” for 2019.

We explained to the Caritas’ representative that, when rating a promise, we take into consideration the deadline which was given by the official or the institution whose promise we are checking. Due to that fact, we left the rating unchanged, as the information received by Caritas basically confirmed that the initial deadline won’t be met. We did, however, write another article where we presented the facts learned from Caritas and made an announcement that the beginning of the project is to be expected in 2019. Please see the article on the link below:

http://istinomjer.ba/ks-putujuci-vrtic-bice-u-funkciji-2019-godine/ 

Milica Šarić Assessor
20-Mar-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Istinomjer had two such challenges in the past year, in both reacted professionally and confirmed its corrections policy. 


done_all 6b marked as Fully compliant by Milica Šarić.