The IFCN does not publish fact checks and is therefore not eligible to be a signatory of its own code of principles. With this document, however, we seek to provide a comparable level of transparency about our activities to that which we recommend in the code.
Legal structure (criterion 1a)
The International Fact-Checking Network is a business unit of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, a nonprofit journalism training institution. Poynter is registered as a 501(c)(3). Poynter is also the nonprofit owner of The Tampa Bay Times. The Director of the International Fact-Checking Network and all its staff are employees of the Poynter Institute. They choose to avail themselves of the advice of fact-checkers around the world through several means. The most important of these is the IFCN Advisory Board, which has a consultative role.
Published work (1b)
The IFCN has a dedicated section on the Poynter website where we cover trends, formats, and news regarding fact-checking, “fake news” and misinformation.
The IFCN does not take sides in any policy discussion beyond access to information and fact-checking. Our staffers cannot be members of political parties nor publicly support candidates for elected office.
Transparency of funding (4a)
The major donors of The Poynter Institute are listed at this link. Tax filings are available here. From its launch in 2015, the IFCN has received funding from the following organizations: Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, the Duke Reporters’ Lab, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, Facebook, U.S. Department of State, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Omidyar Network (Luminate), the Open Society Foundations, Fritt Ord Foundation, Duke Reporters Lab, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and the Park Foundation. Here is a breakdown of the IFCN’s annual budgets starting from 2017.
Transparency of organization / contact details (4b, 4c)
The IFCN staff is currently composed of Director Baybars Örsek, program manager Ferdi Ferhat Özsoy, and international training project manager Alanna Drovrak. Past staff members include the first Director Alexios Mantzarlis, Program Manager Dulce Ramos, Associate Director Cris Tardáguila, Reporter Daniel Funke, Reporter Harrison Mantas, and Intern Daniela Flamini.
The current Advisory Board is composed of: Angie Holan (PolitiFact), Bharat Gupta (Vishvas News), Clara Jiménez Cruz, (Maldito Bulo), Dapo Olorunyomi (Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism), Ellen Tordesillas (VERA Files), Govindraj Ethiraj (Factchecker.in), Glenn Kessler (Washington Post), Laura Zommer (Chequeado), Mevan Babakar (Full Fact), Noko Makgato (Africa Check), and Tijana Cvjetićanin (Zašto ne). The Advisory Board was initially set up by the IFCN’s first Director Alexios Mantzarlis in December 2016 in an effort to represent the diversity and excellence of the fact-checking community. Their term was renewed for two years in December 2017 and ratified by the verified signatories of the IFCN code of principles. Board members who resign or leave fact-checking projects will be replaced through a simple majority vote of the remaining Board members plus the Director of the IFCN. Former Board members include the current director Baybars Örsek, Peter Cunliffe-Jones, and Phoebe Arnold.
The Advisory Board’s principal role is to help oversee the verification process of the code of principles, but it is consulted on all other decisions that have an international and strategic relevance for fact-checkers.
On September 24, 2020, the International Fact-Checking Network has enacted its bylaws, providing the set of responsibilities both for the advisory board members and the IFCN Director.
Consult the bylaws for more on how the International Fact-Checking Network’s Advisory Board operates.
Advisory Board members are unpaid.
Poynter Institute’s President has an ex-officio independent seat at the advisory board. Neil Brown, the President of Poynter Institute currently holds that advisory board seat.
Other independent advisory board members are; Bill Adair, the director of Duke Reporters Lab, Peter Cunliffe-Jones, founder of Africa Check and EunRyung Chong Ph.D., the Director of Seoul National University FactCheck Center.
Independent advisory board members are invited by the IFCN Director. They are only appointed if approved by a ⅔ majority of the board.
Independent advisory board members do not cast votes for incoming applications to IFCN’s Code of Principles, while actively participating in all other discussions.
A complete list of our activities is available here. IFCN staffers are governed overall by the ethics policy of the Poynter Institute. The process to apply to be verified as a signatory of our code of principles is explained here.
IFCN staff will help surface common positions among the world’s fact-checkers when asked. Following consultations among verified signatories and other key actors in the fact-checking community, the IFCN may advocate for these positions with third parties. In doing so, it always makes clear which organizations it does or doesn’t speak for. For instance, in November 2016, the IFCN coordinated an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg.
Starting from 2020, IFCN publishes annual transparency reports on its Code of Principles. You can download the 2020 report here.