Tsek.ph, a pioneering collaborative fact-checking coalition, pledged to combat election-related  disinformation through the expertise and commitment of its 22 partner organizations during an online  relaunching on Jan. 24, 2022. 

“Initiatives like Tsek.ph are vital and necessary. Especially now, when an enlightened Filipino citizenry is  key to our elections so that we are correctly informed about who and what the candidates running for  national and local positions stand for,” said Dr. Elena E. Pernia, Vice President for Public Affairs of the  University of the Philippines, in her opening remarks. 

Baybars Orsek, director of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, lauded the revival of Tsek.ph in his keynote speech. “Tsek.ph is one of the most significant efforts in the world that has been carrying out these activities in such a collaborative way and it has inspired so many collaborative initiatives among other fact checkers,” he said. 

Tsek.ph brings together academe, media and civil society to counter disinformation and provide the  public with verified information for the May 9 elections. Tsek.ph builds on its success in the 2019  elections.  

The revitalized alliance now includes 23 institutions and initiatives. The academic partners are the  Asian Center for Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Trinity  University of Asia Communication Department, University of the Philippines–Los Baños, UP  Department of Journalism’s Fact Check Patrol and FactRakers, and the University of Santo Tomas  Journalism Program.  

The media partners are ABS-CBN, Baguio Chronicle, DZUP, FYT, Interaksyon, MindaNews, PhilStar  Global, Philippine Press Institute, Press One, Probe and VERA Files. The civil society organization  partners are Akademiya at Bayan Kontra Disimpormasyon at Dayaan (ABKD), BarangayHub, Fact Check  Philippines and the Philippine Association for Media and Information Literacy (PAMIL).  

Ging Reyes, head of ABS-CBN’s Integrated News and Current Affairs division, commended the group’s  efforts in uniting fact-checking partners toward a common goal. She also acknowledged the crucial role  journalism plays in defending the nation. “This is an inherent part of our responsibility as journalists:  to hold those in power accountable, and to protect a vibrant democracy where people can make  decisions freely based on correct information,” she said. 

Felipe Salvosa II, program coordinator of the University of Santo Tomas Journalism Program, extends  the academic institution’s commitment as well. “As journalists and journalism educators, our first  obligation is to the truth. And this aligns with our official university motto: veritas in caritate — truth in  charity. Truth, addressing the problem of disinformation, fighting fake news — is our obligation to one  another,” he said. 

Camille Diola, editor of digital news outlets Philstar.com and Interaksyon, underscored how despite  perceived competition, all partners are united by the mission of the coalition. “So it is only right, and it  is a necessity, that we set our differences aside, and work in concert through Tsek.ph,” she said. 

Akademiya at Bayan Kontra Disimpormasyon at Dayaan (ABKD), composed of academics, education  workers and progressive organizations, was represented by one of its lead convenors, Francisco  Guiang, who expressed the group’s commitment to the network’s mandate to “conduct fact checking,  hold webinars about disinformation and fake news, conduct education seminars, and join the kontra daya efforts in the upcoming elections.”

Carol Arguillas, editor of MindaNews, a Mindanao-based online newspaper and media partner since  2019, shared their commitment to “this collective endeavor and collective commitment to provide the  public with accurate information.” Her team intends to continue to tell stories from their region to help  provide context “especially during this crucial election.” 

The Philippine Press Institute, the national association of newspapers, was represented by its executive  director, Ariel Sebellino, who conveyed their support to the initiative. “We bind ourselves to the noble  and ennobling intentions and ideals of fact-checking. Today more than ever, we should all unite to free  ourselves from the bondage of infodemic,” he said. 

Fact-checking is done by rating a claim from platforms and campaign promises of candidates; election-related statements and remarks made by candidates, personalities, government agencies, and  other entities; and election-related posts on social media, blogs and other platforms. 

Tsek.ph is supported by the UP System, Google News Initiative, UP Journalism Department and the  UPCMC Foundation. For more information on Tsek.ph, visit the website, email secretariat@tsek.ph, or  like and follow it on Facebook and Twitter.