Separating Fact from Spin
Faktograf’s aim is to introduce the concept of accountability for public claims into public spaces.
Faktograf.hr, the newly launched joint project by the Croatian Journalists’ Association and GONG, is the local version of similar independent internet sites like PolitiFact, FactCheck and Washington Post’s Fact Checker, or, regionally, Istinomjer.ba and Istinomer.rs. The site’s purpose is to estimate the truthfulness and factuality of politicians’ everyday statements using fact checking and reliable sources, in order to prevent unfounded assertions from becoming indisputable facts through sheer repetition.
"Fact-checking, a highly specialized type of journalism, is nothing new in the world, or even in our region. Croatian media scene had a need for such a project, which GONG and the CJA recognized, and decided to join forces and start a medium primarily dedicated to separating fact from spin in the public discourse", says Faktograf’s editor-in-chief Petar Vidov.
In the long run, Faktograf strives to become a relevant non-profit media space where Croatia’s political life will be treated in a professional and ethical journalistic manner, free of the influence of various particular interests. However, it is in no way free of ideological values, as its founders point out – it is strongly rooted in values like freedom, antifascism, human rights and equality, and social justice.
It was launched just before the parliamentary election in 2015, in order to serve as another source of information for citizens forming the decision for whom to vote.
"We plan to focus on statements made by our politicians, and check the facts they use to establish if they are correct, and to what degree. Considering that we started working during the election campaign, we also decided to analyse our political parties’ election programs, so our readers could get a complete list of promises the parties made, but also the information about how concrete those promises are, which should be a good indicator of how realistic it is to expect their fulfilment when the new Government forms!", says Vidov. "We will monitor the future Government’s work to see if they keep their promises. Furthermore, we will offer analyses and columns where we will deal with current socio-political phenomena".
Faktograf’s aim is to introduce the concept of accountability for public claims into public spaces. "Such a thing might be assumed in countries where democracy is more developed, but the statements of Croatian politicians we’ve handled so far clearly show that many of them boast with claims that aren’t supported by facts", Vidov told us.
Translated from Croatian by Lana Pukanić.