A Fact-Checked Award

01/10/2013

Chequeado.com is an initiative that brings fact checking to public discourse in Argentina. This project won a FRIDA award in the Innovation category.

Chequeado.com is an initiative by La Voz Publica Foundation which began in October, 2010. The project applies fact checking to the political system’s public discourse, bringing the information closer to citizens and opening it up for debate as a means of strengthening democracy.

There are no similar initiatives in the region. Laura Zommer, Executive Director of Chequeado.com, noted that this proposal allows journalistic sources to be analyzed by any citizen in order to reach their own conclusions.

She also noted that the project does not use anonymous sources but that every source “is cited and, whenever possible, a link to the original document is included.”

In addition, Chequeado.com uses new technologies and the possibilities offered by the Internet and social networks to reach out to a broad audience of committed individuals who receive and share data in order to generate information in a different way.

“In a country with no open government or public information policies in place, the project analyzes journalism from an open and horizontal point of view where anyone can contribute on the topics they are familiar with. In this sense, citizens are invited to actively participate in the fact-checking process,” Zommer said.

Chequeado.com is an independent initiative with a diversified funding strategy that allows it not to depend on any individual interests and ensures its long term sustainability. The content published on its website is free of ads or publicity that could affect its impartiality in any way.

When seeking to increase the project’s impact and strengthen its connections with the region, the people behind Chequeado.com decided to participate in the 2013 FRIDA call for proposals.

“We want to drive real change in the region aiming to improve the quality of our democracies and to increase citizen participation taking advantage of the opportunities offered by new technologies. In the same sense, the FRIDA program strengthens local democracies through Internet Governance, contributing to the development of the Information Society,” highlighted Chequeado.com’s Executive Director.

The portal tries to break with the status quo by experimenting with new ways of doing journalism, creating collective content by bringing citizens on board to improve the quality of public debates.

The same problems. Matias Di Santi, a journalist working for Chequeado.com who attended the Internet Governance Forum in Cordoba, discovered that other organizations in the region also consider the lack of fact-checking in public discourse to be a problem. “There was general consensus that fact checking public debate by selecting individual phrases and statements contributes to critical thinking and the involvement of citizens who are able to justly complain when their rights are violated,” noted Di Santi.

Organizations from Ecuador, Uruguay and Paraguay expressed interest in the possibility of helping replicate the project in their countries. Chequeado.com is happy to share its know-how.

“Our organization’s first participation in this event has been very productive, as it has allowed us to become familiar with the major topics on the global Internet Governance agenda. It has also allowed us the possibility of exchanging our own experiences with those of other Latin American countries and defining common strategies for strengthening and improving democracy throughout the region,” concluded Di Santi.

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