FactCheckNI awarded funding by Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust

FactCheckNI awarded funding by Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust
14 September 2020

FactCheckNI, Northern Ireland’s first and only dedicated fact-checking service, has been awarded funding by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust to conduct our work entitled “Empowering People Through Facts”. The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT) aims to fund work which will contribute to the ongoing transformation of the Northern Ireland conflict.

The core aims of FactCheckNI resonate with JRCT’s priorities, namely that by supporting a public discourse which is based in a commitment to non-partisan, non-sectarian and accurate information, in tandem with emphasising the need for individual engagement and participation in political, social and economic debates.

The proliferation of what has been termed “fake news”, particularly on social media platforms, has in effect eroded trust in reliable sources of information. It risks undermining public confidence and further reducing participation, distancing those most in need of engaging with public and policy discourses on issues impacting them, effectively placing another hurdle between people and accurate information. In this period of the COVID-19 pandemic, misinformation can prove to be a life and death issue. In Northern Ireland, it also is a source of inter-community tension. FactCheckNI’s “Empowering People Through Facts” will:

    • provide accurate content in the form of comprehensively fact checked and accessible articles;
    • train groups in critical thinking and fact checking skills and develop an online toolkit/resource;
    • continuously evaluate our own practices to ensure their effectiveness; and
    • disseminate our work to the largest possible audience.

As Dr Orna Young, Executive Director of FactCheckNI, explains:

“FactCheckNI will be building on our existing work and growing our multi-leveled approach to the issue of misinformation in Northern Ireland. Our approach seeks to strengthen all levels of society in reaffirming a commitment to accurate information, as well as fostering confidence in the community in their ability to access that information and engage in social, political and economic debate. We are passionate about ensuring the accessibility of these issues, and in doing so increasing the accountability of all those in decision-making positions.”

Tim Jones, Northern Ireland Programme Manager, JRCT,  also details:

“Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust is delighted to support the work of FactCheckNI at this crucial time for Northern Ireland and beyond. JRCT trustees were impressed by FCNI’s commitment to empowering people to independently check the accuracy of the information they are presented with, and felt that this is particularly important in the context of Brexit, COVID-19, and all of the disruptions to the status quo that we are currently witnessing. We look forward to building a productive partnership.”

This will constitute a new phase in FactCheckNI’s established work, beginning in October 2020. If you or your organisation are interested in undertaking our free training, please contact orna@factcheckni.org 

ENDS

NOTES

The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust is a Quaker trust that supports people who address the root causes of conflict and injustice. It engages in philanthropy that challenges power imbalances in society and believes in creating dialogue to support change towards a better world. The JRCT funding priority for Northern Ireland aims to contribute to the ongoing transformation of the Northern Ireland conflict.

FactCheckNI is Northern Ireland’s first and only dedicated fact-checking service, investigating claims and publishing articles on contemporary and contentious topics. It works to foster a culture of critical thinking within a deeply divided society, and has trained thousands of young people in school and out-of-school environments. FactCheckNI is a verified signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network Code of Principles, with commitments to nonpartisanship, fairness, and transparency.