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, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Omidyar Network, the Open Society Foundations 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, Associate Director Cris Tardáguila, whom both were hired in February 2019 and approved by the IFCN Advisory Board, and Reporter Daniel Funke. Past staff members include the first Director Alexios Mantzarlis and Program Manager Dulce Ramos. (Biographies and contact details are available at those links.)
The current Advisory Board is composed of: Angie Holan (PolitiFact), Clara Jiménez Cruz, (Maldito Bulo), Govindraj Ethiraj (Factchecker.in), Glenn Kessler (Washington Post), Laura Zommer (Chequeado), Noko Makgato (Africa Check), and Tijana Cvjetićanin (Zašto ne). The Board was selected 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 Baybars Örsek, Peter Cunliffe-Jones, and Phoebe Arnold. Starting in 2020, the Board will be elected by the verified signatories of the IFCN code of principles. 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 relevance for fact-checkers. The Board must approve with a majority vote the hiring and firing of the IFCN Director.
Board members are unpaid.
Bill Adair (Duke Reporters’ Lab) serves as an IFCN Advisor honoris causa.
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.