FactWatch, a fact-checking initiative run by University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB), has become the first verified signatory in Bangladesh by International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN).
This recognition is the result of an independent, external assessment for compliance with an exhaustive list of 31 criteria that test commitment to five basic principles: Non-partisanship and Fairness, Standards and Transparency of Sources, Transparency of Funding and Organization, Standards and Transparency of Methodology, and Open and Honest Corrections policy.
As a pioneer in its field, FactWatch is currently managed by the Center for Critical and Qualitative Studies at ULAB. It is led by founding Editor and Media Studies Professor Sumon Rahman. It was established on November 1, 2017 with initial funding from the American Center, Dhaka.
Fact-checking became recognised as a highly valued form of journalism when PolitiFact was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2009. The IFCN was established in 2015 to promote higher standards in fact-checking and to advocate for reliable and accurate information across all mediums. It has been officially nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize this year, just after 6 years of its establishment. FactWatch joins the ranks of 85 active IFCN signatories around the world along with renowned journalism powerhouses such as AP, AFP, Reuters and civil society organisations like Indonesia's Mafindo, UK's Full Fact, Johannesburg-based Africa Check and Argentina's Chequeado. FactWatch is second of the IFCN signatories based in an academic institution (the other one is ABC FactCheck by RMIT, Australia).
FactWatch is proud to be working in a field of accountability journalism as part of a global movement hailed to be a new democratic institution of this millennium. FactWatch Editor Dr. Sumon Rahman said, "This is rare achievement. We are very fortunate to be recognised professionally for our student-run effort situated in an academic institution. FactWatch is now on the global map of fact-checking along with some of the biggest names in media. Now our task is to live up to our achievement and work with more commitment and professionalism."