Fact-checking in the Global South: Facts about non-profit journalism funding models – a case study

Van Wyk, Annamarie (2017-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Over the past two decades, fact-checking has grown from an in-house media function to 96 dedicated fact-checking organisations in 37 countries. Three of these organisations, located in the Global South and operating as non-profit organisations, were investigated as a case study for this research project: Africa Check (working from South Africa and Senegal), Chequeado in Argentina, and India’s FactChecker. The goals of this study were to establish how the three organisations are funded, and how the ideals encompassed by social responsibility theory guide their funding aspirations. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews with each fact-checking organisation’s founder/executive director, content analysis of relevant pages on the organisations’ websites, documents such as annual reports and budget, as well as media interviews with the founders/executive directors. What emerged is that all three organisations rely on philanthropic grants for most of their income, but in varying degrees, with Africa Check being the most reliant of the three on such funding, and Chequeado the least, as it has the most diverse revenue streams. As for the study’s second goal, the research showed that four of the functions social responsibility theory requires the media to carry out guide the funding aspirations of the three fact-checking organisations studied. These are to supply public affairs information and further debate on these matters, enlighten society, keep watch against government abuses, and ensure financial sustainability to avoid undue pressure from strong supporters. As guided by social responsibility theory the other two functions – to supply advertising and entertainment – are disregarded by the three fact-checking organisations.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Gedurende die laaste twee dekades het feite-verifiëring gegroei van ’n interne mediafunksie tot 96 toegewyde feite-verifiëringorganisasies in 37 lande. Drie van hierdie organisasies wat in die Globale Suide geleë is en as nie-winsgewende organisasies bedryf word, is as gevallestudie vir hierdie projek bestudeer. Dié organisasies is Africa Check, gebaseer in Suid-Afrika en Senegal, Chequeado in Argentinië, en Indië se FactChecker. Dié studie se doelwitte was om vas te stel hoe hierdie organisasies befonds word, en hoe die ideale vervat in sosiale verantwoordelik-heidsteorie die organisasies se befondingsideale rig. Data is deur middel van semigestruktureerde onderhoude met elke organisasie se stigter/uitvoerende direkteur ingesamel, asook deur inhoudsanalise van toepaslike blaaie op elke organisasie se webwerf, dokumente soos jaarverslae en begrotings sowel as mediaonderhoude met elke stigter/uitvoerende direkteur. Dit blyk dat al drie organisasies vir die meeste van hul inkomste van filantropiese skenkings afhanklik is, met Africa Check wat die meeste hierop steun, en Chequeado die minste omdat laasgenoemde die uiteenlopendste inkomstebronne van die drie organisasies het. Wat die tweede doelwit betref, toon hierdie navorsing dat vier van die funksies van die sosiale verantwoordelikheidsteorie die organisasies se befondingsideale rig, naamlik om oor sake van die dag te berig en debat daaroor te bevorder, om die samelewing in te lig, te waak teen regeringsvergrype, en toe te sien dat ’n media-organisasie finansieel volhoubaar is om sodoende onbehoorlike druk van sterk ondersteuners hok te slaan. Die drie feite-verifiëringorganisasies voldoen egter nie aan die funksies om advertensiemoontlikhede en vermaak te verskaf nie, soos toegelaat deur die teorie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/101020
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