Northern Ireland Foundation wins civic activism award
by Allan LEONARD for Northern Ireland Foundation
16 July 2015
The Northern Ireland Foundation is delighted to have been given an award from Building Change Trust, to pursue a civic activism project on digital fact checking in Northern Ireland.
Working with Transformative Connections, our aim is to tackle the problem of ill-informed public debates on contentious issues, which can be exacerbated by inaccurate information spreading quickly through social media platforms.
We will establish FactCheckNI, the first digital fact-checking platform in Northern Ireland, to compile verifiable information on a range of key topics, by monitoring sources of open data, newspapers and broadcast programmes, parties’ websites, social media and Stormont debates.
On behalf of the Northern Ireland Foundation, Managing Director Allan Leonard said:
“We are truly excited about building a new digital fact-checking platform for Northern Ireland, not for pointing fingers for the misstatements, but more importantly to prevent a volatile situation on the ground getting worse.
“One of the Northern Ireland Foundation’s focus of work in civic leadership and community development, and we are confident FactCheckNI will encourage greater care and responsibility for everyone in the public realm.”
A key component of the FactCheckNI project is face-to-face training with community groups and statutory agencies, on how to better identify false information and misinformation.
As Enda Young, Co-Founder of Transformative Connections, explained:
“We will provide free tools, information, and advice, with a focus on community leaders, politicians, voters, ‘grass root’ based organisations and newspaper editors, across the entire political spectrum and civic society.
“FactCheckNI will be a platform that promotes a collaborative and bottom-up approach to the political debate, rooted in numbers and facts, rather than stereotypes and prejudices.”
The Building Change Trust supports the community and voluntary sector in Northern Ireland through the development, delivery of, and learning from a range or programmes including commissioned work, awards programmes and other interventions.
The Civic Activism Programme awards range from £17,000 to £60,000, and will enable the awardees to experiment with one or more new tools or approaches drawn from the Building Change Trust’s Civic Activism Toolkit.
The awards are funded by the Big Lottery Fund through the Building Change Trust.
The Northern Ireland Foundation is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation that develops programmes around: a shared and better future in Northern Ireland; the exchange of international best practices; and local community activism.
Transformative Connections (or TranConn) is an organisation that focuses on the role of technology in promoting peacebuilding and positive social change.
In advance of the website launch, updates are available via Twitter: @FactCheckNI