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The first organisations dedicated to publicly evaluating the truth of political claims appeared in the United States in the early s, anchoring what would become a staple of political reporting practised by nearly every major US news outlet.
According to the most reliable global count, such groups are active today. In similar efforts appeared in France and the Netherlands, and by the end of fact-checkers were active in ten countries. In all, more than 50 dedicated fact-checking outlets have launched across Europe over the past decade, though roughly a third of those have closed their doors or operate only occasionally.
Many European fact-checking outlets are attached to established news organisations, like Channel 4 News. Some reject the label of journalism altogether, and see fact-checking as a vehicle for political and media reform.
This diversity matches the global picture. Different fact-checking outlets all share the laudable goal of promoting truth in public discourse.
But political fact-checking always attracts controversy. Even simple factual questions can leave surprising room for disagreement, and fact-checkers often come under attack from critics who disagree with their verdicts.
As a democratic institution the practice raises basic questions about what counts as reliable data, who has the authority to assess public truth, and how to balance accuracy with other democratic ideals such as openness and pluralism.
It represents a clear challenge to legacy news outlets in Europe, whom fact-checkers depend on to publicise their work but in many cases see as an institution in dire need of change. Digital media help fact-checking outlets publish and promote their work online, but for wider reach, they still rely heavily on legacy media and work systematically to build relationships with them.
Finally, this new phenomenon invariably raises the question of what we can reasonably hope to accomplish by holding public figures accountable for false statements. In the US, political fact-checking was inescapable during the presidential race.
The first offers a broad overview of the kinds of organisations involved in fact-checking across Europe. The next two sections ask what fact-checkers hope to accomplish with their work and how they go about it, exploring variations in the mission and identity of these groups as well as in their day-to-day methods.
The fourth section turns to the question of impacts — the results these efforts yield and the strategies fact-checkers use to magnify them, especially in managing their often fraught relationship with the news media.
Finally, the report addresses the costs of fact-checking and the approaches these organisations have taken to make their work financially sustainable.
The analysis presented here draws on individual or group interviews with more than 40 practitioners, site visits to fact-checkers in eight different European countries, and an online survey of 30 organisations across the continent carried out in August and September of The bulk of the interviews and site visits took place in the summer ofthough a handful were conducted over the previous two years.
In addition, the report is informed by observation of three global fact-checking summits, in London in and and Buenos Aires in Overview Today at least 34 permanent sources of political fact-checking are active in 20 different European countries, from Ireland to Turkey.
They can be found on every part of the continent, including the Nordic countries, the Mediterranean, Central Europe, the Balkans, and the former Soviet republics. In addition, fact-checking as a genre is sufficiently well established that many news outlets without dedicated teams offer it on an ad hoc basis, for instance during major political campaigns.
In the weeks before the Brexit vote in Junemisleading claims from both camps were being debunked across the British media, by leading national outlets but also many local newspapers and TV stations.
This landscape defies easy categorisation.Paddington is a live-action animated comedy film written and directed by Paul King from a story by King and Hamish McColl and produced by David Heyman.
Based on the stories of the character Paddington Bear created by Michael Bond, the film stars Ben Whishaw as the voice of the title character, with Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie. To exert some control over their media footprint most European fact-checking organisations rely on formal or informal media partnerships.
In our survey, 54% indicated they currently partner with a newspaper or have in the past; 55% said the same about television, 50% about radio, and 80% about online news outlets.
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