June 28, 2023

SEOUL, South Korea — The International Fact-Checking Network at the non-profit Poynter Institute has grown and evolved since its inception in 2015 — and that fact was on display in Seoul, South Korea, at the 10th GlobalFact summit, which is bringing together fact-checking journalists and misinformation researchers from around the globe.

Enock Nyariki, the IFCN’s community and impact manager, said that more than 150 fact-checking organizations are now verified signatories to the IFCN Code of Principles, a series of commitments that groups make to things like transparency and nonpartisanship. 

The number of verified signatories has more than doubled since 2020, Nyariki said. And, in 2023, he said the IFCN has welcomed verified signatories from entirely new countries. 

“Japan was major for us,” Nyariki said, before highlighting Liberia, Sudan and South Sudan as well. 

The IFCN’s growth was evident at the summit in Seoul, hosted by IFCN and SNUFactCheck. More than 500 people from 75 countries registered to attend GlobalFact in person. Additionally, more than 900 other people registered to attend virtually and listen to sessions live or watching recordings when time zones or other commitments prevented them from tuning in in real time. 

Angie Drobnic Holan, the recently named new director of the IFCN who was formerly editor-in-chief of PolitiFact, reflected on the growth of the fact-checking community and the evolution of misinformation during her opening remarks on June 28. 

“We’ve come a long way since we first met in that London classroom in 2014,” Holan said. “As you well know, our challenges since then have grown. Misinformation is on the march. The politically powerful are using disinformation to confuse the public and attempt to control the agenda.” 

More from Poynter: Angie Drobnic Holan named to lead the International Fact-Checking Network

Because the truth remains under attack, so do fact-checkers, Holan said. 

GlobalFact brings together fact-checkers from all over the world, Nyariki said. 

“People travel for more than 20, 30 hours to get here,” he said. “This is one place where we see each other in person, even those of us who have not met others before.” 

At the conference, fact-checkers exchange ideas, network and sometimes forge partnerships, Nyariki said.

Get to know a few of the 2023 IFCN verified signatories better by reading mini-profiles of the organizations below.

211 Check, South Sudan – March 2023 verified signatory

South Sudan’s first IFCN Code of Principles signatory, 211 Check, prioritizes fact-checking claims related to public health, politics and human rights, said associate editor Emmanuel Bida Thomas. 

Thomas said 211 Check — composed of a team of three fact-checkers, a data analyst and two senior editorial staff members — joined IFCN to improve the quality of its fact-checking work. 

“The IFCN provides access to training, resources and networking opportunities that can help us enhance our fact-checking skills and engage more effectively with our audience and other local partners,” Thomas said.

As the first signatory from South Sudan and the only independent fact-checking and information verification project in the country, Thomas said 211 Check strives to promote accurate and reliable information. 

“Being a leader in the fact-checking space in South Sudan means that we have a responsibility to set the standard for fact-checking and to contribute to a more informed and engaged society,” he said. Since 2020, 211 Check has provided workshops, webinars and training to help others practice fact-checking, Thomas said. Currently, 211 Check is advocating for more fact-checking organizations and the creation of a fact-checking coalition ahead of upcoming elections in late 2024.

Gwara Media, Ukraine – May 2023 verified signatory

In 2022, Kharkiv, Ukraine-based Gwara Media created a fact-checking department of eight analysts and fact-checkers. 

“The impetus for this was Russia’s full-scale invasion of our country and a significant increase in disinformation and false news in the information space,” said managing editor Serhii Prokopenko. “As a local media outlet, we had to find a formula to respond.” 

During the first three months of the invasion, Garwa Media launched its fact-checking department from a basement because the city was so dangerous, Prokopenko said.

Prokopenko said when the organization first began publishing fact checks, even before 2022, it looked to IFCN signatories for guidance when developing its methods. The IFCN community’s commitment to transparency and ethics has helped Garwa Media build audience trust, Prokopenko said. 

Since Russia is occupying Ukrainian territory, Gwara Media has sometimes found it difficult to verify information about fighting on the frontline, Prokopenko said. 

“We solve this problem by using the status ‘no evidence’ and commenting on all the information we know about it,” he said. 

NepalFactCheck.org, Nepal – May 2023 verified signatory

NepalFactCheck.org launched its fact-checking initiative to respond to the surge of COVID-19 misinformation in March 2020, said editor Umesh Shrestha. 

Shrestha said the hardest part of its work is limited funding and a limited number of fact-checkers. The operation is small — one editor, one fact-checker, a research assistant and 10 provincial misinformation monitors across the country, he said. 

“Joining the IFCN presents an opportunity to establish a global network and address funding challenges,” Shrestha said. “We aim to promote truth and accuracy, collaborate with other fact-checkers, share knowledge, exchange resources, learn from their experiences, techniques, and innovations.” 

He also said the organization believes becoming an IFCN signatory enhances credibility and recognition of fact-checking organizations, thus bolstering public trust in NepalFactCheck.org’s work.

NewsToF, South Korea – May 2023 verified signatory

NewsToF’s six-person South Korean fact-checking operation became a verified IFCN signatory in May 2023. 

Young-hoon Song, the organization’s chief editor and fact-checker, said NewsToF prioritizes fact-checking important statements from politicians, though it is sometimes challenging to identify claims to target.

The organization is particularly proud of its work tracking and verifying promises made by presidential candidates, Song said.

By becoming a verified signatory, NewsToF hopes to learn from the experiences of other authoritative, international fact-checking organizations, Song said. 

Song said it has been an honor to have the 10th GlobalFact conference — the first one held in Asia — hosted in Seoul. 

PressOne.PH, Philippines – March 2023 verified signatory

One of a handful of verified IFCN signatories in the Philippines, PressOne.PH’s fact-checking operation is made up of an editor, two writers, a multimedia content producer, a social media manager and two translators, said editor Felipe Salvosa II. 

The hardest part of fact-checking for PressOne.PH is “sifting through the mountain of disinformation in places like YouTube, Facebook, and others,” Salvosa said. “There’s simply a lot of ground to cover, but not enough time and resources.” 

PressOne.PH has focused on fact-checking political statements for the past two years ahead of elections, but the organization also fact-checks internet hoaxes, Salvosa said. 

“We’re new in the community and we hope to make a mark by adhering to IFCN standards,” he said. “We also want to be known as an organization of fact-checkers that have ties to (academia). We work with students to produce fact checks, thus helping train the next generation of Filipino fact-checkers.”


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Madison Czopek is a contributing writer for PolitiFact. She was a reporter for PolitiFact Missouri and a former public life reporter for the Columbia Missourian.…
Madison Czopek

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