Under the auspices of the International Fact-Checking Network, three media organizations Istinomer.rs, Faktograf.hr and Istinomjer.ba, grant Balkan Fact-Checking Award for articles written based on proven facts. The award was established with the aim to encourage citizens and journalists in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia to focus on the articles based on fact-checking.
The rationale for the award says that in the articles “State aids Pink with € 3.9 million” and “Pink received at least € 7 million in loans from the state”, using an explicit and understandable style, the journalist and the fact-checker offer evidence on violation of the law, by presenting relevant facts supported by appropriate documents. The articles reveal that, between 2014 and 2016, Pink International, owned by Željko Mitrović was granted more than € 7 million in loans by the state, contrary to the regulations of the Serbian Export Credit and Insurance Agency (AOFI). Namely, the condition for being granted a loan and guarantees is a Tax Administration document confirming settlement of tax liabilities. However, in the year when it was awarded financial aid, Pink was listed as one of the largest tax debtors.
Istinomer received a lot of investigative stories that are based on fact-checking, as well as works produced by various organizations dealing with topics of public interest in their fields of expertise. Istinomer also received several articles by local journalists who write articles employing high investigative standards, in spite of poor resources and the pressure they are exposed to in their everyday work.
The winners were awarded with participation in the Fourth Global Fact-Checking Summit to be held from July 5 – 7 in Madrid. This conference gathers all significant editorial boards utilizing fact-checking in their work; from Pulitzer Prize winners, Politifact, to journalists dealing with fact-checking in media such as Libération, The Washington Post, ABC News, etc. Thus the winners will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the best practices and new tools, as well as to meet worldwide leaders in this field. The winners are also given the opportunity to participate in the conference POINT 6.0 in Sarajevo.
Fact-checking presents an unbiased report assessing the accuracy of the statements made by a public figure or an institution. Fact-checking implies giving a specific list of the sources used either to confirm or to deny a statement, as well as providing an explanation why the resources used are deemed reliable.