Annie Lab is now a verified member of the Code of Principles by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) at Poynter Institute.
The student-driven fact-checking operation is run by HKU Journalism in collaboration with the Asian Network of News & Information Educators (ANNIE) since October 2019
IFCN’s signatory certification is an internationally recognised standard in the field of fact-checking journalism. To be qualified, an organisation must demonstrate its non-partisanship, fairness, transparency, and professional rigour through the quality of its work.
“Annie Lab will not be Annie Lab without the students,” said Purple Romero, guiding editor at the fact-checking initiative. “This certification could hopefully help strengthen the impact of their work, expand its reach, and inspire others to develop a fact-checking mindset.”
In the newsroom, student reporters investigate misinformation covering a wide range of topics, from climate change to COVID-19 to social media rumours. Every story undergoes editorial scrutiny by the three university faculty members who serve as editors.
“I am very proud of what the student reporters have achieved,” said Cherry Lai Tsz-yan, guiding editor. “It is their contribution and effort that made Annie Lab so special.”
Associate Professor of Practice Masato Kajimoto, the supervising editor at Annie Lab, commented, “We will continue our efforts to keep the highest standards of fact-checking journalism in Hong Kong to combat misinformation that could be extremely detrimental to our society.”
Worldwide, verified signatories include fact-checking divisions of well-known news outlets like the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, and the Washington Post.
“Concern about disinformation is widespread,” said HKU Journalism Director Keith B. Richburg, “so I’m thrilled to see Annie Lab being internationally recognized as meeting the highest standards of professionalism and impartiality. It’s exciting to see the next generation of journalists learning the skills needed to combat disinformation and so-called “fake news”, and putting those skills into practice every day here at HKU.”