Today is the International Fact-Checking Day
Today, the Metamorphosis Foundation (metamorphosis.org.mk) for the fourth time celebrates 2 April, the International Fact-Checking Day in cooperation with the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), which includes about 80 organizations from around the world. Through its portal about public accountability and transparency Truthmeter (truthmeter.mk), Metamorphosis has been a certified member of IFCN since 2019, participating in all network activities.
Given the global emergence of coronavirus, which has fueled a surge of misinformation and their rapid spread through social networks, IFCN has established the Corona Virus Facts Alliance (#CoronaVirusFactsAlliance, #CoronaVirusFacts), in which more than 100 organizations from 45 countries have so far contributed with over 1,500 fact-checking articles of media content and statements given by public figures, and these numbers are increasing day by day. Metamorphosis, through its fact-checking initiatives and portals, has so far contributed with about 40 fact-checking articles in Macedonian, Albanian and English.
Metamorphosis has been working in the field of fact-checking for a decade now and has disclosed all kinds of misinformation present in the public sphere.
The first project of the Foundation of this kind was Truthmeter, which appeared as early as 2011, and whose goal is to strengthen accountability and transparency of public figures and institutions by checking the truthfulness of their statements and announcements, the use of spins and manipulations, and determining the level of fulfilment of the pre-election promises of political parties.
From 2012 to 2017, Metamorphosis implemented a fact-checking project, which also included the so-called Fact-Checking Service (SPFM – proverkanafakti.mk), which verified the authenticity of media reports. During the 5-year period over 2,400 reviews of journalistic products and more than 1,200 other articles were published in Macedonian and Albanian.
Since 2018, the Foundation has been implementing the project CriThink – Critical Thinking for Mediawise Citizens (cithink.mk), which is working to improve media literacy and develop critical thinking among citizens. This is done through trainings, workshops and making and publishing of educational materials, while also offering practical application of these disciplines by fact-checking articles, videos, and content from social networks to directly and in a clear and understandable way demonstrate how to use the critical thinking and the fact-checking methodology in order to detect misinformation in the media and thereby increase the level of media literacy among citizens.
With the spread of the coronavirus, and with the emergence of a large number of epidemic-related misinformation, CriThink, instead of the projected 15 articles for March, has published as many as 60, most of which are reviews of journalistic products on topics related to the coronavirus, trying to uncover the misinformation and clear up the ambiguities in the media.
Since 2018, the Metamorphosis Foundation has also become a central location for fact-checking in the region by developing cooperation between fact-checkers in the Balkans.
The Foundation’s media, the Meta Agency (meta.mk), Truthmeter and the Albanian portal Portalb (portalb.mk), have begun to create a regional network of organizations and journalists from the region for developing of cooperation among Balkan fact-checkers and making it easier for the public to detect misinformation that spreads across the region.
Metamorphosis has already signed a Memorandums of Cooperation with 5 organizations from the region, and with 4 more organizations and individuals the signing is underway. In honor of today’s International Fact-Checking Day, the Foundation published the founding Declaration of this regional initiative and called on all fact-checkers to join.
Lastly, let us call on all citizens, especially now during the coronavirus epidemic, when they notice misinformation in the public sphere that is harmful to the public, whether it be in the media, a statement by politicians or a post on social networks, to contact any of the Foundation’s portals and let us know. We will do everything in our power to verify the misinformation according to professional journalistic principles and to counter it with facts.