The Whistle

Organization: The Whistle
Applicant: Uria Bar-Meir‬‏
Assessor: Ben Luria

Background

The Whistle is an Israeli fact checking platform, acting as an independent unit within the Globes newspaper. Prior to its implementation into the Globes in January 2019, it worked as an independent NGO in 2017-2018.

Assessment Conclusion

The Whistle seems to follow its fact-checking mission professionally, in compliance with the IFCN Code of Principles. It conducts fact-checking in a non-partisan way, practicing a clear methodology and relying on open and reliable sources. Its methodology and corrections policy are evidently put into practice.


Overall, this assessment provides a positive image regarding The Whistle's work, and concludes that its affiliation with IFCN should be continued for the following year.


Two potential suggestions that could be considered in relations to the criteria, although should not affect the marking:

- Clarifying the policy regarding seeking responses from the featured speakers (criteria 5.5), and perhaps designating a section of the articles for the speakers' response. While it states that it follows the codes of ethics of the Globes and the Israeli Press Council, in some articles it was hard to comprehend if a response was sought. It should be emphasized, however, that the majority of articles did in fact seem to refer to seeking response from the covered speaker.

- Integrating into the website the social media campaigns calling for sending claims to review (criteria 5.6). Presumably that could be used even now through the contact us section, but it wasn’t clear if that’s part of the purpose of this section.

on 21-May-2020 (1 year ago)

Ben Luria assesses application as Compliant

A short summary in native publishing language

בדיקה זו של "המשרוקית", יחידת בדיקת העובדות מבית מערכת גלובס, מראה כי היא עומדת בקריטריונים השונים של קוד ה-IFCN.

על בסיס בדיקה זו ניתן לראות כי בדיקת העובדות במערכת המשרוקית מתנהלת בצורה מקצועית, שקופה וא-מפלגתית. המאמרים השונים באתר מציגים יישום כהלכה של המתודולוגיה המוצגת, הסתמכות על מקורות אמינים ופתוחים לעיון הציבור וכן יישום של מדיניות התיקונים המוצהרת.

Section 1: Eligibility to be a signatory

To be eligible to be a signatory, applicants must meet these six criteria

  • 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.
  • 1.2 The team, unit or organization is set up exclusively for the purpose of fact-checking.
  • 1.3 The applicant has published an average of at least one fact check a week over the course of the six months prior to the date of application. For applicants from countries with at least 5 or more verified signatories need to have at least a fact check a week over the twelve months of publishing track. Consult to factchecknet@poynter.org for confirmation.
  • 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.
  • 1.5 The applicant’s editorial output is not, in the view of the IFCN, controlled by the state, a political party or politician.
  • 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.

Criteria 1.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please explain where on your website you set out information about your organization’s legal status and how this complies with criteria. Attach a link to the relevant page of your website.

The Whistle
13-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Whistle - Independent & Accurate Media for Israel - was first registered as a non-profit (see attached photo) in July 2016. During its first year of operation, prior to its public launch, the team focused entirely on establishing a methodology, developing a web-platform and articulating an ethical code. For nearly 18 months, between its public launch in July 2017 and December 2018, The Whistle published more than 300 different fact-checking articles, determining the accuracy of statements issued by elected representatives and public officials. 

As of January 2019, when it was integrated into Globes daily financial newspaper, The Whistle became an integral, yet independent, fact-checking outfit within Globes, with print as well as digital presence. From a legal standpoint there is no longer a non-profit entity as it was taken apart right after the integration into Globes. In the past, during its non-profit period, the donor-breakdown was indicated online under 'Transparency' (and it is still available on the Ministry of Justice's website). Today, as it is already an integral part of Globes, The Whistle is broadly described in its Annual Trust Report (see pages 22-23).   

Files Attached
תעודת רישום - נאמן ל... (2 MB)
Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago)

The response explains in itself the legal status of the organization and its compliance with the criteria, which overall seems fit. While it does not explicitly refer to the page in the website describing that subject (the Annual Trust Report is not an inherent part of The Whistle's website), the website's relevant section is quite easy to find and covers those issues well:

https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/aboutUs

The about us page provides info on the purpose of the organization, its methodology and its status starting as an independent initiative and evolving into its current affiliation with Globes (while remaining independent in practice).


done_all 1.1 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 1.2
Proof you meet criteria
Please answer the following questions – (see notes in Guidelines for Application on how to answer)

 1. When and why was your fact-checking operation started?
 2. How many people work or volunteer in the organization and what are their roles?
 3. What different activities does your organization carry out?
 4. What are the goals of your fact-checking operation over the coming year?

The Whistle
13-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

1. The Whistle was first registered as a non-profit in July 2016 with three main objectives

- Protect the media's independence and public status in the Israeli democracy

- Promote fair, non-partisan and balanced coverage of current affairs

- Promote civic empowerment and public engagement as part of the media landscape


However, several months into development it became clearer that while journalists and mainstream media often "contributed" to false public debates, they were not necessarily the source. As we decided to go after the source, fact-checking became a top-priority and we decided to directly target statements and claims that originated with political and public figures. We've been fact-checking political speech in Israel for nearly 4 years. 

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2. Currently The Whistle's staff is managing two major efforts: 

- Monitoring misinformation generated by politicians on mainstream and social media - 4 staffers work on this regularly (3 of them full-time) as well as 6 students interning as part of their academic training

- Monitoring misinformation generated online by public-opinion makers, including the 'Facebook Third-Party Fact-Checking Program' - 2 staffers work on this regularly (both full-time) 

In total we have 1 media monitoring coordinator, 3 researchers, 2 editors and 1 executive director.   

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3. Fact-Checking political speech generated by politicians is the main activity The Whistle carries out. It is published daily on The Whistle's website and at its daily section at Globes (print and digital). As part of our online presence we also publish our content on social media, and we also recently concluded the successful first season of our podcast. This past year has presented The Whistle's team with a two-fold challenge being our first year within the newspaper as well as a year with 3 (and counting..) election cycles. 

Moreover, as previously mentioned The Whistle also engages in fact-checking online misinformation. This includes participating in the 3PFC Program led by Facebook worldwide. As we are the only IFCN signatory operating in Israel we are the sole eligible partner for this effort. Nevertheless, The Whistle has always publicly stated it encourages more fact-checking initiatives to become active in the Israeli media landscape and does not consider it to be a threat, but on the contrary. 

In addition to The Whistle's content-driven effort it also engages in high-school education, focusing on civic-studies and media literacy. For the past 3 years The Whistle has led a 'pilot' program in 2 high-schools, training dozens of high-school students in basic fact-checking skills as well as helping develop fundamental methods for critical evaluation of news programs. 

As experts in fact-checking few members of the team are often requested to lecture on misinformation in various venues, mostly academic. 

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4. The goals for the upcoming year include increasing the diversity of The Whistle's publications at Globes as well as expanding its cooperation with other media outlets, using its fact-checking findings in order to enrich the public debate on current affairs. 

Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The organization's response covers well the mentioned questions


done_all 1.2 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 1.3
Proof you meet criteria
- The applicant has published an average of at least one fact check a week over the course of the six months prior to the date of application.
- For applicants from countries with at least 5 or more verified signatories need to have at least a fact check a week over the twelve months of publishing track.
- Consult to factchecknet@poynter.org for confirmation.

The Whistle
13-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The attached spreadsheet contains three different sheets that represent the variety of publications regularly published by The Whistle between January and April 2020, all of which are of public interest;

- Full fact checking articles that examined public statements delivered by elected representatives. These articles are published daily in full-length on The Whistle's website and also published in summary on its daily section at Globes (print and online, see first sheet on spreadsheet). It can be seen that the lead topics all of these articles are divided according to the Knesset Committees, as they correspond with various fields of public policy. 

- Full fact checking articles that examined online misinformation, as part of the Third-Party Fact Checking Program with Facebook. These articles are also published in full-length in a unique section on The Whistle's website.

- Other publications The Whistle publishes periodically at Globes, including thematic overviews, explainers and fact checking articles that examined various claims but were not given a score. 

Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The provided spreadsheet contains detailed information about the claims checked during the last months, which is well over the minimum 13.


done_all 1.3 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 1.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous three months. No additional information required.

Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The fact checks by The Whistle focus on issues relating to the general public interest in a consistent and comprehensive manner.


done_all 1.4 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 1.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please explain any commercial, financial and/or institutional relationship your organization has to the state, politicians or political parties in the country or countries you cover. Also explain funding or support received from foreign as well as local state or political actors over the previous financial year.

The Whistle
13-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

IRLVT.

Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The current platform of The Whistle is under the umbrella of the Globes newspaper, which is under private ownership and is not known to hold a financial, commercial or institutional affiliation with the state or political parties/figures.


done_all 1.5 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 1.6
Proof you meet criteria
If you confirmed the organization receives funding from local or foreign state or political sources, provide a link to where on your website you set out how you ensure the editorial independence of your work.

The Whistle
13-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

IRLVT.

Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Compliant as mentioned in the previous criteria.


done_all 1.6 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Section 2: A commitment to Non-partisanship and Fairness

To be compliant on nonpartisanship and fairness, applicants must meet these five criteria

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

Criteria 2.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please share links to 10 fact checks published over the past year that you believe demonstrate your non-partisanship.
Please briefly explain how the fact checks selected show that (I) you use the same high standards of evidence for equivalent claims, (II) follow the same essential process for every fact check and (III) let the evidence dictate your conclusions.

The Whistle
13-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/feed/Z8yX6z1042

https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/feed/36xj6KwxRd

These two fact-checks were given a similar False/ Mostly False score while the speakers, who are political rivals, were talking about the same issue (national earnings from natural gas). 

Both statements were issued the same day on Twitter, were part of the same public debate regarding energy and environmental policy and were both published during an election campaign. Moreover, both articles (following The Whistle's standard for fact-checking articles) show supporting evidence throughout the text and at the end of each article under 'Sources', where they are all clickable and accessible. 

As seen at the top and bottom of each article, we base our conclusion - which is the logic behind the given score - only on sources shown throughout the article. As seen in the above links (as well as the following) during the fact checking process of any given claim The Whistle uses primary sources such as formal datasets and official information provided by public institutions, academic researchers, think tanks and - if and when relevant - civil-society organisations once lack of information is met. While both primary and secondary sources must appear in full-description in the articles, no "off-record" sources are considered valid in The Whistle's process. 

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https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/feed/36xj6pvxRd

https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/feed/qX0nvvm0N9 

These two fact-checks deal with the same politician, former Finance Minister of Israel, Member of Knesset Yuval Steinitz. While Minister Steinitz is no longer in charge of Finance, he often speaks of economic policy. For the past year, as part of the ongoing political instability, even prior to the COVID-19 outburst, the Israeli economy has suffered from a soaring deficit and other related challenges. 

Nevertheless, these two fact-checks exhibit how the same political figure, regardless of party-affiliation or topic of conversation, can receive different scores while talking about similar issues. 

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https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/feed/6a0JDm9yLN

https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/feed/NR0d2jVyBV

Similarly, these fact-checks examined two different statements delivered by the same politician at the same media appearance (interview on national radio). The speaker, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman spoke of his own personal accomplishments as well as his party's achievements in the field of public health policy. While one statement was issued a 'True' score the other was given a 'Mostly False' by using the identical standard for both.

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https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/feed/OZWqJbXyjw

https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/feed/O10YqRa0wq

These two fact-checks deal with statements delivered by two different members of the Joint Arab List in the Knesset. While media coverage of Arab Members of Knesset in Hebrew measures up to less than 3% of political media appearances (significantly lower than their 20% share of Israeli population), The Whistle is prevented from enforcing any sort of "internal correction" policy. However, once their statements meet the criteria for initiating a fact-check and/or publishing one, they are treated with the same high standards and process like any other Member of Knesset. 

In these cases the speakers received one 'True' and one "Half-True' scores, and it is worth mentioning that 'True' score-statements are not as frequently published. 

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https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/feed/N1xg1ZOWeO

https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/feed/3wW6D7qxD2

For the past year, due to the allegations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (soon to stand trial) and the political instability created by it, public debate on almost all issues has become ever more polarised. In contemporary Israel it is nearly impossible to engage in conversation without automatically falling in the ranks of "with us" or "against us". 

These two fact-checks dealt directly with the Netanyahu upcoming trial, the legal and political paths leading towards it and its public consequences. While some of the Prime Minister's party members often spread misinformation on this issue, these two examples show the exact opposite; on the one hand, a Member of Cabinet speaking accurately on national radio regarding proceedings in Parliament (The Knesset) leading to trial, scoring 'Mostly True'. And on the other hand, an outspoken critic of Netanyahu from the opposition speaking inaccurately on national television about the legislative deficit, allegedly unique to Israel, that allows a defendant in trial to become head of state. He was scored 'False'. 

Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The fact checks provided meet the criteria and seem to follow high standard evidence and a consistent process, unaffected by the identity of the covered speaker.


done_all 2.1 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 2.2
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to a place on your website where you explain how you select claims to check, explaining how you ensure you do not unduly concentrate your fact-checking on any one side, and how you consider the reach and importance of the claims you select to check.

The Whistle
13-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Whistle has a comprehensive fact-checking method which reduces biases to the minimum. Our team examines public statements delivered by key figures in the public and political spheres; elected officials, leaders and senior civil servants; from all parts of the Israeli political spectrum. The limited scope of the Israeli media allows us to scan most of it every single day, especially when it comes to senior figures. Through a comprehensive, rapid and balanced examination of public statements, The Whistle seeks to lead a more credible, accurate and factual public discourse in Israel, regardless of speakers' political affiliation and/or previous statements made by political rivals and/ or allies. 



As shown in the attached link above, The Whistle's methodology clearly indicates that only statements based on facts, rather than opinions, are found eligible for research. Moreover, once  prioritisation of the different statements is required it is done as a team, following a debate focused on the daily findings of The Whistle's media monitoring effort. The statement's relevance to a given controversy, coupled with its reach and potential contribution to the public debate are key to the entire fact-checking process. 

In addition to The Whistle's website, on the day its integration into Globes was publicly launched its fact checking entire method was also published on Globes' platforms (see here). Ever since, periodic overviews are published (see here and here) so that readers can view for themselves The Whistle's breakdowns of public figures and political parties that have been examined and evaluated. 

Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The provided explanation and the attached part of the website describe the process for 'qualifying' claims in a sufficient way, meeting the expected criteria.


done_all 2.2 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 2.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous year. No additional information required.

Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Overall, the sources used by the applicant seem to fit a strict standard in order to appear in a fact-checking article (official records mostly, or verified data when not). As they follow a strict code also in practice, as verified by the fact checks included, this is considered as compliance with the criteria.


done_all 2.3 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 2.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous year. No additional information required.

Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Whistle is not affiliated with any of the mentioned, and doesn't seem to advocate for any political figure or party. The fact-checks submitted show a record of reviewing statements from the whole spectrum of the political field, and validating them objectively.


done_all 2.4 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 2.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to a place on your website where you publish a statement setting out your policy on non-partisanship for staff and how it ensures the organization meets this criteria.

The Whistle
13-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/team

As seen in the attached link, not only is there full transparency on the background of all staffers, but it clearly indicates that aside from our methodology non-partisanship is also maintained by forbidding direct and active engagement in advocacy or partisan activity by our team-members as well as The Whistle altogether. 

Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The attached link presents the applicant's policy as described, matching the criteria.


done_all 2.5 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Section 3: A commitment to Standards and Transparency of Sources

To be compliant on sources, applicants must meet these four criteria

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Criteria 3.1
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

As also listed in the methodology section of the About Us page of the applicant (https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/aboutUs), the fact-checking is based only upon identified and open sources and does not rely on any personal/anonymous data. The implementation of this criteria was verified by a random sample of ten fact-checks throughout the year:

https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/feed/kDy83MmWwa

https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/feed/6a0JJJM0LN

https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/feed/2GWMGG9xnv

https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/feed/1l0LoJ1xva

https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/feed/NR0dqmgWBV

https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/feed/ORxKm2RWjK

https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/feed/8OxrXdKWDq

https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/feed/O4Wkk7OWjb

https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/feed/DKWRK9jybj

https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/feed/6a0JJqA0LN

(the same randomised sample will be used for criteria no. 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4 and 5.5)


done_all 3.1 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 3.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

There seems to be a usage of primary sources exclusively. Verified by the randomised sample as appearing on criteria 3.1.


done_all 3.2 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 3.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The fact-checks reviewed include multiple sources. The methodology section of the applicant's website mentions that it works to cross-check the sources when needed. Verified by the randomised sample as appearing on criteria 3.1.


done_all 3.3 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 3.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

As mentioned in criteria 2.3, the sources used by the applicant seem to fit a strict standard in order to appear in a fact-checking article (official records mostly, or verified data when not). As they follow a strict code also in practice, this is considered as compliance with the criteria, and verified by the random sample as well.


done_all 3.4 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Section 4: A commitment to Transparency of Funding & Organization

To be compliant on funding and organization, applicants must meet these five criteria

  • 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).
  • 4.2 Applicants that are the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization make a statement on ownership.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 4.5 The applicant provides easy means on its website and/or via social media for users to communicate with the editorial team.

Criteria 4.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please confirm whether you are an ‘independent organization’
or ‘the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization’ and share proof of this organizational status.

The Whistle
13-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Whistle was first registered as a non-profit (see attached photo) in July 2016 and it had operated as an independent fact-checking organisation until January 2019, when it was integrated into Globes financial daily newspaper. While the integration introduced The Whistle as Globes' fact checking unit, it was based on the mutual understanding that the team would maintain and focus on its original fact checking mission and all it entailed. 

Prior to the integration it was agreed that while its articles would be published as part of Globes' news section on various platforms (print and digital), it was also made clear that The Whistle would maintain its independence in regard to its methodology, hiring as well as other capacities and therefore would be managed separately. The organisational model that assisted in managing The Whistle in the past 16 months, which has also proved to be effective and accurate, was the one of the fact checking unit within The Washington Post. 

Moreover, given that The Whistle has naturally become identified with Globes over the past year, and while there is no longer a separate legal entity, The Whistle is broadly described in Globes' Annual Trust Report (see pages 22-23). The report clearly suggests that "The Whistle cannot and will not be subjected to Globes' editorial directives, and must maintain its unique mission, its freedom of action and its rigorous methodology which adheres to the standards it was accustomed to prior to the integration". 

Files Attached
תעודת רישום - נאמן ל... (2 MB)
Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant states that since 2019 it acts as the Globes' fact-checking unit.


done_all 4.1 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 4.2
Proof you meet criteria
If your organization is an “independent organization”, please share a link to the page on your website where you detail your funding and indicate the legal form in which the organization is registered (e.g. as a non-profit, as a company etc).
If your organization is “the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization”, please share a link to the statement on your website about your ownership.

The Whistle
13-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The attached section of the applicant's website describes the transfer of status, from an independent NGO to a unit within Globes.


done_all 4.2 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 4.3
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you set out your organizational structure, making clear how and by whom editorial control is exercised.

The Whistle
13-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The about us page describes The Whistle's independence of action within the Globes organization, and its guiding principles for work.


done_all 4.3 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 4.4
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you set out the professional biographies of those who play a significant part in your organization’s editorial output.

The Whistle
13-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The 'team' page of the applicant's website complies to the criteria.


done_all 4.4 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 4.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you encourage users to communicate with your editorial team.

The Whistle
13-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The contact us page fits the criteria, and the about us page has a section urging readers to reach out to the editorial team in case they found a mistake in a fact-check, providing various means (email and social media accounts).


done_all 4.5 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Section 5: A commitment to Standards and Transparency of Methodology

To be compliant on methodology, applicants must meet these six criteria

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

Criteria 5.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a link to the statement on your website that explains the methodology you use to select, research, write and publish your fact checks.

The Whistle
13-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The about us page includes a methodology brief as required.


done_all 5.1 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 5.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The methodology section explains that the applicant chooses claims from public personnel, that are verifiable through fact-check (meaning, not opinions) and that have an impact on the public discourse. This was verified in practice also by reviewing the randomised sample (as presented in my review of criteria 3.1). One addition is that there seems to be no mention of 'why is it important' per fact-check, but the overall method for qualifying a claim to be examined makes it so the fact-checks are generally on important public issues.


done_all 5.2 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 5.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The methodology of the applicant provides for a spectrum of resolutions for a fact-check: true, mostly true, half true, mostly wrong, wrong, misleading (which means creating a false impression/claim based on true facts).

Under such system, in cases where the ranking is not absolute (not "true" or "wrong", but one of the other rankings), which is most cases, the fact-checking articles are mentioning and considering facts from both sides: trying to support and trying to undermine the claims.

Verified by the randomised sample as appearing on criteria 3.1.


done_all 5.3 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 5.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The evidence used by the applicant hold high standards and are commonly based on official (national or international where relevant) reports. Verified by the randomised sample as appearing on criteria 3.1.


done_all 5.4 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 5.5
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The vast majority of the articles in the sample included an indication for contact with the speaker who made the fact-checked claims. This fits the fact that The Whistle by definition is following the code of ethics of the Israeli Press Council and the Globes, both of which include a need to seek response when publishing things that could hurt the entities covered. This leads me to conclude it as compliant.

However, as a side note - it should be mentioned that I could not find a specific reference to a duty of contact with the speaker in the applicant's methodology section, and a minority of articles were not clear about whether or not there was an effort to make contact. Even though this is considered as compliant, I suggest a more clear indication for this policy both in the articles (a section of the speaker's response, perhaps) and the methodology (is there an always-contact policy, and if not then what's the criteria to decide).


done_all 5.5 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 5.6
Proof you meet criteria
Please describe how you encourage 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. Include links where appropriate. If you do not allow this, explain why.

The Whistle
13-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

During the past year which included three election cycles as well as the outburst of the COVID-19 infodemia, The Whistle initiated several campaigns encouraging readers and followers to send claims and statements to the team with the purpose of them becoming potential fact-checking articles, in case they were found eligible. While these occur periodically in an organised manner, every once in a while the team also seeks assistance from readers and followers in the process of fact checking claims it monitored independently. 

Please see here, here and here

Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant's response seems to cover it well, as backed by links. It should be mentioned that it is unclear whether the described efforts also appear as a section of the website or rather as social media campaigns (the website does have a contact-us page, though).


done_all 5.6 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Section 6: A commitment to an Open & Honest Corrections Policy

To be compliant on corrections policy, applicants must meet these five criteria

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Criteria 6.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a link to where you publish on your website your corrections or complaints policy. If you are primarily a broadcaster, please provide evidence you frequently reference your corrections policy in broadcasts.

The Whistle
13-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Whistle's online methodology section addresses the case "An Error Occurred". It clearly indicates that "if a mistake is found in the facts, we will correct it as soon as possible with a clear distinctive location in the full-length versions as well as The Whistle's daily section at Globes (both print and digital versions). If the mistake discovered affects the score that was given, it will also be corrected accordingly". 

In more detail, the text clearly states that as "different people may come to different conclusions about any given statement, in case our readers disagree with the details in our articles or with the given score, they are welcome to contact us and submit their comments. If the comments are accepted and deemed relevant by The Whistle's team, the given score will be changed accordingly and the revision will be clearly posted online". Following this text is The Whistle's public addresses' email account and an invitation to contact the team through its social media accounts. 

Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant's response and the attached webpage match the requested criteria.


done_all 6.1 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 6.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the corrections policy to verify it meets critera. No additional information needed.

Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The corrections policy, as appears in the about us page, seems to comply with the requested criteria.


done_all 6.2 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 6.3
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a short statement about how the policy was adhered to over the previous year (or six months if this is the first application) including evidence of two examples of the responses provided by the applicant to a correction request over the previous year. Where no correction request has been made in the previous year, you must state this in your application, which will be publicly available in the assessment if your application is successful.

The Whistle
13-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

During this past year The Whistle was criticised by followers and political figures on several occasions and on different grounds. In every case the claims were thoroughly examined and debated by the team. Nevertheless, while each request received a comprehensive response in a timely manner, it is also important to note that none of the requests in the past year resulted in changing a given score. 

In the case of this article The Whistle received an email from a reader who pointed out a mistake in the text. As the mistake had no effect on the statement's given score it was not altered. Nevertheless, the correction suggested by the reader, though only in the full text and not in the granted score, was added and clearly mentioned at the bottom of the article (see attached image). The engaged reader was updated in real-time with the team's decision and its implementation. 

Another example from the past year came from the Third-Party Fact Checking Program which included a post gone viral that falsely claimed that the national flag of Israel was missing and was not installed outside the building of Israel's Supreme Court. The post's publisher sent The Whistle an email in which he claimed the correction article was inaccurate in itself. Similar to the first example, a thorough response was sent to him within 24 hours (see attached) and while the score remained the same, the article's framing and text were altered accordingly. This correction was also clearly mentioned at the bottom of the article. 

It is worth mentioning another unique case from the past year, when a politician's spokesperson demanded a change in the score she was given in a fact checking article. While their request was denied after consideration, the team debated and decided to include her official response in the article's digital version on Globes' website (see attached photo) despite being very disapproving towards The Whistle. 

Files Attached
תיקון והבהרה - אייטם... (192 KB) תגובת סתיו שפיר - את... (619 KB) מכתב תשובה - פוסט דג... (515 KB)
Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant's examples provide sufficient evidence for adherence to its correction policy.


done_all 6.3 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 6.4
Proof you meet criteria
If you are an existing signatory, please provide a link to show where on your site you inform users that if they believe you are violating the IFCN Code, they may inform the IFCN of this, with a link to the complaints page on the IFCN site.

The Whistle
13-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

https://thewhistle.globes.co.il/aboutUs

In addition to the "contact us" section, it is noted at the bottom of The Whistle's methodology section that readers that believe it fails to follow the IFCN Code of Principles are able to contact the IFCN directly and showcase their complaints. 

Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The contact us page allows to reach out to the applicant's board, and the last section in its about us page includes a mention and link to the IFCN's complaints page.


done_all 6.4 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.

Criteria 6.5
Proof you meet criteria
If you are the fact-checking unit of a media company, please provide a link to the parent media company’s honest and open corrections policy and provide evidence that it adheres to this.

The Whistle
13-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Globes daily newspaper adheres to the Israel Press Council's ethical code and to a detailed internal ethical code as well (see also here).

As seen under clause #27, it is clearly stated that "Any errors, omissions or misinformation that were included in the publication will be corrected as quickly as possible, with fairness and visibility in correlation with the original publication, and if possible any continued distribution will be stopped. If the good name or dignity of any person is damaged, we will also publish an apology in the appropriate cases".

The Whistle
20-May-2020 (1 year ago)

As described in these two examples (see here, here and in the images attached) from the past year, Globes offers clarifications and corrections once required: the first story, focused on financial-relief policy led by the government because of COVID-19, originally included an inaccurate description which was clarified after publication; the other story, which focused on one of the allegations against the Prime Minister and Walla! News, was also published originally with a partially inaccurate description which was corrected after it was published and the mistake was discovered.

Files Attached
בעקבות הפרסום בגלובס... (158 KB) ההצעה של מנכל וואלה... (106 KB)
Ben Luria Assessor
06-May-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant's response includes the ethical codes that Globes (the parent media company) adheres to, but it currently does not provide examples/evidence for cases where this was put into practice.


cancel 6.5 marked as Request change by Ben Luria.
Ben Luria Assessor
21-May-2020 (1 year ago)

The applicant's response includes the ethical codes that Globes (the parent media company) adheres to. This is also verified by two articles, following our request to attach practical examples to serve as evidence of adherence to the policy.


done_all 6.5 marked as Compliant by Ben Luria.