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Six new fact-checkers join global journalism movement

Updated Reporters' Lab database now counts 75 projects actively verifying what politicians say and promise.

By Shaker Samman – October 19, 2015 | Print this article

A half-dozen fact-checkers in five countries are adding their work to the growing list of news organizations and websites that actively verify what politicians tell their constituents around the globe.

With these and other updates to our international database, the tally from the Duke Reporters’ Lab now has 75 active fact-checking services. That includes seven other established fact-checkers that weren’t previously listed in the database, several of which have powered back up to cover the 2016 presidential race in the United States. We’ve also updated our tally of inactive sites. (Map and List)

The newcomers include:

Aos Fatos, Brazil: Aos Fatos aims to raise the level of political discourse in Brazil. A profile of the site says the site’s creators got their inspiration from PolitiFact in the United States and Chequeado in Argentina. The website launched in July 2015.

Capdema’s L’Arbitre, Morocco: Based in the capital city of Rabat, Capdema is short for “Cap Democracy Morocco,” a network of young Moroccan activists. The weekly magazine Tel Quel has worked with the group on some initial fact-checking efforts as the publication and youth group collaborate to build out L’Arbitre (“The Referee”).

NPR, United States: Four years ago, NPR listeners responding to an audience survey told the Washington, D.C.-based public radio network that fact-checking topped their list as the most important kind of political reporting. For the 2016 campaign, NPR has concentrated its fact-checking efforts into a recurring feature called “Break It Down.”

Polétika, Spain: Founded in 2015, Polétika was created by a coalition of activist groups. Its site is built around a database of political promises, with fact-checkers monitoring and evaluating claims made by politicians and political parties in the run-up to Spain’s general election this December.

PolitiFact Missouri, United States: The newest member of the PolitiFact family is a partnership between the U.S. fact-checking site operated by the Tampa Bay Times in Florida and the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia. The site fact-checks claims made by local, state and national officials.

South Asia Check, Nepal: Based in Kathmandu, South Asia Check was founded in 2015 by Panos South Asia, a non-governmental organization focused on regional media development. In addition to fact-checking politicians and other government officials, the site monitors promises related to recovery efforts since the region’s April 2015 earthquake. The fact-checkers concentrate mainly on Nepal, but occasionally review statements made elsewhere in the region.

In addition to these six new fact-checkers, we added several others that were not previously listed in the database, including:

Viralgranskaren, Sweden: Based in Stockholm and founded in 2014, this myth-busting website is a branch of Metro, Sweden’s free daily newspaper. It checks into viral online statements, such as Facebook pricing myths or claims about the Earth’s appearance without water.

Media Fact Checking Service, Macedonia:  This project began in 2013 with a 30-month mission to fact-check Macedonian media reports. The fact-checking portion of the website is presented by the Metamorphosis Foundation for Internet and Society, and is available in English, Macedonian and Albanian.

The other established fact-checkers we’ve added are the AP, the New York Times and Politico, along with two local news offerings: TV reporter Pat Kessler’s regular Reality Checks on CBS Minnesota and Seattle talk radio host Jason Rantz’s #FactCheck segments for KIRO-FM and MYNorthwest.com. (We selfishly wish all fact-checkers provided a handy, one-stop link for their work the way CBS Minnesota does, but the others are just a short search away — for the most part.)

The Reporters’ Lab database also lists 43 inactive fact-checking operations, though that number will likely shift over the coming months, especially as state and local news outlets across the United States reboot their efforts for the upcoming election year.

In this round of updates, Brussels-based FactcheckEU and Minnesota Public Radio’s Polygraph move to inactive status. The inactive count also includes three other U.S. newsrooms and media partnerships that focused on fact-checking during the 2014 U.S. elections: the Quad City Times/WQAD-TV Political Ad Fact Check, in Davenport, Iowa; Truth Test from 5 Eyewitness News in St. Paul, Minn.; and another Truth Test that paired the CBS46 news team in Atlanta with student fact-checkers from Kennesaw State University.

Please share any updates or additions for the Reporters’ Lab database with Mark Stencel or Shaker Samman.