Civic Association CRTA-The Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability
About the Grantee
The Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability’s (CRTA) project Istinomer helps generate and serve public demand for transparency in Serbia. When it launched in 2009, Istinomer was the first dedicated fact-checking website in the Balkans and was inspired by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Politifact project, which has researched and rated the statements of American politicians and public figures since 2007. In Serbia, the idea of tracking and rating the veracity and consistency of politicians’ statements and promises was a novel one, and the practice quickly spread through the Balkans. Today, every country in the region has its own version of Istinomer and the sites are networked into a regional coalition of organizations to promote political accountability. Most of these sites, including Istinomer, are also members of a global fact-checking network led by Politifact’s parent organization, the Poynter Institute.
Despite the narrow media space in which it operates, Istinomer has become influential in Serbia and remains the go-to reference for politicians’ performance. Ahead of elections, it hosts widely-watched debates among candidates from all the parties. It also produces longer video versions of selected fact checks which incorporate interviews and investigative reporting techniques. Istinomer is also a contributor to the leading regional TV channel, N1, which airs these clips weekly, and until 2012, its fact checks were featured each week in Serbia’s most circulated daily newspaper, Blic. A 2013 transparency campaign utilized satire, backed by facts, to create public pressure demanding accountability for the leak of test answers to a standardized college entrance exam, leading to the education minister’s dismissal in the ensuing government reshuffling.