Chydenius Medal 2018 granted to Faktabaari
The 2018 Chydenius Medal was granted to Faktabaari - run by transparency NGO Avoin yhteiskunta ry (Open Society association, Finland) - to mark the outstanding performance on international level in promotion of the principles of openness, cherished by Anders Chydenius, the initiator of the world’s first Freedom of Information Act (1766).
"Faktabaari has successfully mitigated the use of disinformation in political influencing and thus supported open society and fact-based and informed public debate in Finland and in Europe”, said Chairman Erkki Liikanen and Vice Chairman Björn Vikström explaining the background for this recognition by the Board of Anders Chydenius Foundation. Foundation recognized that, in Finland, the factchecking service has brought accuracy to the public election debates during the recent five years, and in Europe, Faktabaari has been engaged in the EU debate on disinformation and promoted a European cooperation within a network of likeminded partners.
Faktabaari is a non-partisan journalistic service using social media for collecting and distributing factual information with crowds. Faktabaari started by serving facts on common misconceptions on EU and followed the public European election debate during 2014 in order to correct the factual mistakes to support a fact-based and informed public debate. Faktabaari runs primarily by a voluntary staff of professional journalists, researchers, EU experts, teachers and technical staff with the help of broader network of topical experts and information and media literacy specialists. Faktabaari was represented by it’s Founder Mikko Salo in the independent EU High-Level Expert Group on Fake News and online disinformation. The group issued in March 2018 EU commission a recommendation for “Multidimensional approach to online disinformation”.
“Faktabaari is very honoured to receive the Chydenius medal and continue the visionary legacy of Chydenius with public access to government documents crucial but relatively new to modern democratic accountability. Access to documents was part of the world’s first Freedom of Information (FOI) Act dating 250 years ago while FOI became part of the western democratic systems only in 1960’s.” Salo reminds adding that “This important legacy still today enables Faktabaari transparent fact-checking efforts, that many colleagues even today in Europe are still fighting for”.
“We are proud that our contribution to multidimensional European approach to disinformation challenge has been recognized. Our joint efforts at the EU level contributed to the current debate on the accountability and transparency requirements to the algorithms that define our news digest based on the data collected by respective technology platforms. Platforms and advertisement industry are now set to implement self-regulatory code of practice, while the EU member states and soon to be elected European parliament will decide the sufficiency to regain citizen trust and ensure healthy news ecosystems. Thanks to pioneering privacy legistlation EU currently sets the global standard while Finland guides EU through the sensitive post-election period second half of 2019.” Salo describes how Chydenius right to know and right to say legacy lives in data economy that Finland is soon to steer at EU level.
“Chydenius legacy gives, privacy compliant agile actors like Faktabaari and fact-checkers a historical backbone to defend these principles for open societies. Independent European network of fact-checkers is part of the European approach. Next to keeping public officials accountable transparent fact-checking remind journalism to be fact-based. Fact-checking offers also a novel pedagogical approach to build trust in digital era as it inspires critical thinking, digital media literacy and awareness building to e.g. voters. By engaging researchers and informaticians to participate we gather new outreach.”, Salo explains the Faktabaari EDU approach to fact-checking while underlining the complementarities with journalism. For journalists fact-checking is a basic skill requiring constant update.
“We dedicate this medal next to our national partners especially to those international colleagues and freedom of press and information advocacy groups that prepare to European elections 2019 with fewer legistlative support. Open societies need to be preserved by us all together and EU is the level to act.”, Mikko Salo summarises on behalf of Faktabaari and Avoin yhteiskunta NGO.
The Chydenius Medal was awarded to Faktabaari 30th of November 2018 by the Anders Chydenius Foundation and the Association for Chydenius Institute.
Previous awardees have been Mr Linus Torvalds for open Linux operating systems, as well as Prof. Miklos Haraszt, OSCE representative for Media and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bolkova for advancing access to information. The Medal has been shared by two Finnish investigative journalists, Minna Knus-Galán (YLE) and Jyri Hänninen (Helsingin Sanomat) and latest 2017 by two NGO’s Open Knowledge Finland and ProCom on advancing debate on Finnish lobby register.
Juha Mustonen, Secretary general
Anders Chydenius foundation
Faktabaari / FactBar, Founder