Australian Associated Press

Organization: Australian Associated Press
Applicant: Holly Nott
Assessor: Raymond Joseph

Background

The Australian Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit organization, which was established on August 4, 2020. It superceded the former Australian Associated Press Pty Ltd Newswire and FactCheck businesses.

This continued an 85-year legacy of providing media companies and corporations with news and information of public interest.

In a bid to combat misinformation in the region, AAP launched an editorially independent fact-checking unit, AAP FactCheck, in 2019. The decision to launch AAP FactCheck was in recognition of “the existence of a fact-checking gap" in the region in which it operates. It also wanted "to provide a service focused on Australia-relevant content ahead of 2019's NSW state and federal government elections, as a way of ensuring higher standards of public debate and equipping voters with accurate, reliable information about issues of relevance."

AAP FactCheck is intended to support "the Australian community" by addressing misinformation, while also supporting its media clients and complementing the fact-based news content AAP was already providing.

"AAP has always produced unbiased and accurate reporting, so fact-checking aligned perfectly with our core principles as a news business and we viewed it as an area where there would be continued and increasing need and wanted to be part of the solution."

AAP FactCheck is funded by a targeted allocation from AAP's general newsroom budget and income earned through a Third-Party Fact-Checking partnership agreement with Facebook. Under this partnership agreement, AAP FactCheck maintains full editorial independence.

Seed funding for AAP FactCheck was originally contributed by Google News Initiative, and GNI has since offered funding towards costs associated with two short-term election-specific fact-checking projects. Facebook has also recently supported AAP FactCheck's creation of a media literacy education campaign.

AAP has no owners or shareholders and is constituted by a group of members who have no ownership rights over the organisation. AAP is governed by a board of elected directors and derives income from subscriptions to its news, image, and information services. It also accepts philanthropic donations and funding to support the losses of its operations. Donors do not have any influence over editorial operations or the governance of the organisation. "We are non-partisan and objective in all our operations.”

While independent of government, AAP has been pledged A$15 million in federal government funding over two years to underpin its operation as it transitions from a company owned and supported by two major media outlet shareholders to a fully independent, not-for-profit news service. 

Assessment Conclusion

AAP FactCheck is fully compliant with all of IFCN's requirements for membership.

on 04-Nov-2021 (6 months ago)

Raymond Joseph assesses application as Compliant

A short summary in native publishing language

See background

Section 1: Eligibility to be a signatory

To be eligible to be a signatory, applicants must meet these six criteria

  • 1.1 The applicant is a legally registered organization, or a distinct team or unit within a legally registered organization, and details of this are easily found on its website.
  • 1.2 The team, unit or organization is set up exclusively for the purpose of fact-checking.
  • 1.3 The applicant has published an average of at least one fact check a week over the course of the six months prior to the date of application. For applicants from countries with at least 5 or more verified signatories need to have at least a fact check a week over the twelve months of publishing track. Consult to factchecknet@poynter.org for confirmation.
  • 1.4 On average, at least 75% of the applicant’s fact checks focus on claims related to issues that, in the view of the IFCN, relate to or could have an impact on the welfare or well-being of individuals, the general public or society.
  • 1.5 The applicant’s editorial output is not, in the view of the IFCN, controlled by the state, a political party or politician.
  • 1.6 If the organization receives funding from local or foreign state or political sources, it provides a statement on its site setting out to the satisfaction of the IFCN, how it ensures its funders do not influence the findings of its reports.

Criteria 1.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please explain where on your website you set out information about your organization’s legal status and how this complies with criteria. Attach a link to the relevant page of your website.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

PLEASE CHECK URL: https://www.aap.com.au/aap-factcheck-organisational-structure/

Please Note - Attached ASIC Certificate - proof of legal regisration of Australian business


Australian Associated Press Ltd is an independent, not-for-profit organisation established in 2020 to advance tolerance and understanding by protecting independent, ethical and sustainable news gathering and reporting in Australia. (The current organisation superceded the former Australian Associated Press Pty Ltd Newswire and FactCheck businesses on August 4, 2020.) 

Australian Associated Press Ltd continues an 85-year legacy of providing media companies and corporations with news and information of public interest, and has been operating an editorially independent fact-checking unit, AAP FactCheck, since 2019 in a bid to combat misinformation in the region.

As a not-for-profit entity, Australian Associated Press Ltd has no owners or shareholders. It is constituted by a group of members who have no ownership rights over the organisation. The organisation is governed by a board of elected directors. AAP derives income from subscriptions to its news, image and information services. AAP accepts philanthropic donations and funding to support the losses of its operations. Donors and funders neither seek nor are granted any influence over editorial operations or the governance of the organisation. We are non-partisan and objective in all our operations.

AAP FactCheck is funded by a targeted allocation from AAP's general newsroom budget and income earned through a Third-Party Fact-Checking partnership agreement with Facebook. Under this partnership agreement, AAP FactCheck maintains full editorial independence. AAP FactCheck has a homepage (factcheck.aap.com.au) within the AAP website (aap.com.au) with separate menu navigation and a different article treatment.

Seed funding for AAP FactCheck was originally contributed by Google News Initiative, and GNI has since offered funding towards costs associated with two short-term, election-specific factchecking projects. Facebook has also recently spported AAP FactCheck's creation of a media literacy education campaign. 

The relevant Company Objects are included below for your reference:

1.1 Objects

The Company is established to advance social and public welfare, to advance education and

to promote mutual respect and tolerance between Australians for the benefit of the general

public in Australia by:

(a) promoting independent, ethical and sustainable news gathering and reporting to

advance understanding in Australia of the social, economic and political circumstances

of those in need, including in regional and rural Australia and Indigenous communities,

(b) promoting activities and programs in primary and secondary schools and in tertiary

institutions that support and develop the use of accurate, fact-based communications

in social media and public discourse;

(c) providing access to accurate information about Australian society that enables and

encourages widespread understanding and tolerance among all sectors of the

community;

(d) providing access to accurate, fact-based international media sources that enables

broader public understanding of issues relating to the natural environment in

Australia, and to the security or safety of the Australian public (including from geopolitical, environmental and health causes); and

(e) pursuing any other specific purpose that will advance any of those objects.

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf ASIC Certificate.pdf (357 KB)
Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

For details of ownership and proof of Australian Associated Press' Ltd (AAP) registration with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) see here: https://bit.ly/3k0hxYF (A copy of ASIC proof of registration was included with this application).

AAP is an independent, not-for-profit organization. It was established on August 4, 2020 "to advance tolerance and understanding by protecting independent, ethical, and sustainable news gathering and reporting in Australia. It superceded the former Australian Associated Press Pty Ltd Newswire and FactCheck businesses.

The new entity "continues an 85-year legacy of providing media companies and corporations with news and information of public interest, and has been operating an editorially independent fact-checking unit, AAP FactCheck, since 2019 in a bid to combat misinformation in the region."

AAP has no owners or shareholders and is constituted by a group of members who have no ownership rights over the organisation. AAP is governed by a board of elected directors and derives income from subscriptions to its news, image, and information services. 

AAP also accepts philanthropic donations and funding to support the losses of its operations. Donors do not have any influence over editorial operations or the governance of the organisation. "We are non-partisan and objective in all our operations."

The organisation's objectives, according to this application are to:

1) advance education and promote mutual respect and tolerance between Australians by:

(a) promoting independent, ethical and sustainable news gathering and reporting to advance understanding in Australia of the social, economic and political circumstances, including in regional and rural Australia and Indigenous communities;

(b) promoting activities and programs in primary and secondary schools and in tertiary institutions that support and develop the use of accurate, fact-based communications in social media and public discourse;

(c) providing access to accurate information about Australian society that enables and encourages widespread understanding and tolerance among all sectors of the community;

(d) providing access to accurate, fact-based international media sources that enables broader public understanding of issues relating to the natural environment in Australia, and to the security or safety of the Australian public (including from geopolitical, environmental, and health causes); and

(e) pursuing any other specific purpose that will advance any of these objectives.


done_all 1.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 1.2
Proof you meet criteria
Please answer the following questions – (see notes in Guidelines for Application on how to answer)

 1. When and why was your fact-checking operation started?
 2. How many people work or volunteer in the organization and what are their roles?
 3. What different activities does your organization carry out?
 4. What are the goals of your fact-checking operation over the coming year?

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

1. AAP began planning a fact-checking operation in December 2018 and set up the AAP FactCheck unit in our Sydney headquarters in March 2019. We recognised there was a fact-checking gap in our region and wanted to provide a service focused on Australia-relevant content ahead of 2019's NSW state and federal government elections as a way of ensuring higher standards of public debate and equipping voters with accurate, reliable information about issues of relevance. It was a way to support the Australian community by addressing misinformation at the same time as we supported our media clients and complemented the fact-based news content AAP was already providing. AAP has always produced unbiased and accurate reporting, so fact-checking aligned perfectly with our core principles as a news business and we viewed it as an area where there would be continued and increasing need, and wanted to be part of the solution.

2. We have a full-time staff of three people who all have responsibility for sourcing checkable claims and writing articles. The FactCheck editor has additional responsibility for managing all staff, editing and publishing content, and engaging with peers and industry networks, with the support of the FactCheck Deputy Editor as required. In addition to a permanent FactCheck journalist, AAP cadets individually spent 6-12 weeks training with the FactCheck team to build their verification skills and take them into other areas of the AAP Newswire business. AAP also works with a rota of 5 freelance journalists who help to cover New Zealand and the South Pacific, and allow us to tackle more misinformation at times of increased need, such as election periods. They have been trained by AAP FactCheck, Facebook and Google, and have worked in responsible positions with other AAP business units so understand our core values and standards. The Managing Editor has oversight of AAP FactCheck to the extent that is required to ensure standards and contractual obligations are being met, oppportunities for growth examined, and staff are [properly managed, trained and recruited.

3. For 85 years, AAP has been Australia's national wire service, providing reliable and accurate breaking news, world, sport, politics, court, finance and photographic content to every major Australian media outlet on a 24/7 basis. AAP is a not-for-profit entity focused entirely on delivering unbiased and impartial news of importance to Australians. FactChecking is a core and integral part of our new mission.

4. AAP FactCheck has created a media literacy education campaign centred on factchecking processes and targeting all Australian adults via social media. The campaign launched during World Media and Information Literacy week. e are also planning a project to factcheck greater quantities of misinformation during the upcomign federal election campaign to protect democratic processes inAustralia, and have a related project underway to translate our fact-check articles into three different languages and provide this content free to targeted media serving Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities.  AAP FactCheck has also identified a need to increase our social media profile as a means of highlighting our work to more people and welcoming more suggestions from the public. We want to maximise the impact of our work by engaging with the community in more ways and raising the public profile of AAP FactCheck. We also want to ensure we continue to respond to misinformation and fake news as quickly as possible in order to remain as relevant as possible to the public and our clients.     

Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The Australian Associated Press (AAP) set up the AAP FactCheck unit in its Sydney headquarters in March 2019 after "recognising the existence of a fact-checking gap" in the region in which it operates. It also wanted "to provide a service focused on Australia-relevant content ahead of 2019's NSW state and federal government elections as a way of ensuring higher standards of public debate and equipping voters with accurate, reliable information about issues of relevance." 

AAP FactCheck was intended to support "the Australian community" by addressing misinformation, while also supporting its media clients and complementing the fact-based news content AAP was already providing. 

"AAP has always produced unbiased and accurate reporting, so fact-checking aligned perfectly with our core principles as a news business and we viewed it as an area where there would be continued and increasing need and wanted to be part of the solution."

2. AAP FactCheck has a full-time staff of three people - an editor, a deputy editor, and a fact-checking journalist, who all have responsibility for sourcing checkable claims and writing articles about their findings. It also works with freelance journalists.

I) The AAP FactCheck editor has "additional responsibility for managing all staff, editing and publishing content, and engaging with peers and industry networks, with the support of the FactCheck Deputy Editor as required."

All AAP cadets spend 6-12 weeks training with the FactCheck team to build their verification skills. AAP FactCheck also works with a rota of 5 freelance journalists who help cover New Zealand and the South Pacific and also to allow the agency to tackle misinformation at times of increased need, such as election periods. 

They have all been trained by AAP FactCheck, Facebook and Google, and have worked "in responsible positions" with other AAP business units to understand the organisation's core values and standards. 

AAP's Managing Editor has oversight of FactCheck "to the extent that is required to ensure standards and contractual obligations are met, opportunities for growth examined, and staff is properly managed, trained, and recruited."

3. For 85 years, AAP has been Australia's national wire service, providing reliable and accurate breaking news, world, sport, politics, court, finance and photographic content to every major Australian media outlet on a 24/7 basis. "AAP is a not-for-profit entity focused entirely on delivering unbiased and impartial news of importance to Australians. FactChecking is a core and integral part of our new mission."

4. i) AAP FactCheck has created a media literacy education campaign centered on fact-checking processes and targeting all Australian adults via social media. The campaign was launched during World Media and Information Literacy week. 

ii) AAP FactCheck is also planning a project to fact-check greater quantities of misinformation during the upcoming federal election campaign. 

iii) a project is underway to translate AAP FactCheck articles into three different languages and to provide this content free to targeted media that serve culturally and linguistically diverse communities. 

iv) AAP FactCheck has also identified a need to increase its social media profile as a means of highlighting its work to more people;

v)  AAP FactCheck's aim is to ensure that it continues to respond to misinformation and fake news as quickly as possible in order to remain as relevant as possible to the public and its clients.     


done_all 1.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 1.3
Proof you meet criteria
- The applicant has published an average of at least one fact check a week over the course of the six months prior to the date of application.
- For applicants from countries with at least 5 or more verified signatories need to have at least a fact check a week over the twelve months of publishing track.
- Consult to factchecknet@poynter.org for confirmation.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago)

AAP FactCheck has published about 130 fact-check articles over the past six months. Please see attached spreadsheet.

Files Attached
description FactCheck Articles P... (27 KB)
Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

AAP FactCheck has exceeded this requirement


done_all 1.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 1.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous three months. No additional information required.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

About 50 per cent of the fact-check articles we produced related directly to COVID-19 misinformation circulating online in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Roughly 30 per cent of the total fact-check article output related to politics, with the remainder split between non-COVID health issues and miscellaneous misinformation.

A version of the spreadsheet uploaded at 1.3 - showing six months of AAP FactCheck output - has been attached here with colour coding. COVID content in RED. Political content in GREEN 

Files Attached
description FactCheck Articles C... (27 KB)
Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Criteria met. While there is extensive fact-checking of Covid-19-related claims, AAP FactCheck's fact-checkers also examined other claims, including politics, health, and a range of other topics. 


done_all 1.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 1.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please explain any commercial, financial and/or institutional relationship your organization has to the state, politicians or political parties in the country or countries you cover. Also explain funding or support received from foreign as well as local state or political actors over the previous financial year.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

AAP has always been at the forefront of delivering impartial, independent and accurate news to Australia’s leading media outlets and beyond. It is one of only a handful of news agencies worldwide not solely funded or influenced by its government. AAP operates editorially independently of government in Australia - we have no political affiliations nor agendas, and do not receive funding from any individual politician or political party. 

We have been pledged $15 million in federal government funding over two years to underpin our operation as we navigate the transition from a company owned and supported by two major media outlet shareholders, to a fully independent not-for-profit news service.   

AAP FactCheck adheres to policies that protect and enhance AAP's neutrality. However, AAP FactCheck is more stringent, and never permits comment and conjecture in AAP FactCheck articles as is sometimes permitted in other AAP content in circumstances covered by 2.2/2.3 of the AAP policy on Impartiality and Fairness (copied below.)

AAP’s full Code of Practice and Neutrality statement can be found under our FactCheck "Who We Are" menu https://www.aap.com.au/factcheck-neutrality/ and is repeated on the general AAP site: https://www.aap.com.au/about-us/#item-2

 Impartiality and Fairness

2.1. AAP does not promote particular views or commercial interests, either through undue emphasis or by suppressing relevant material.

2.2. In reporting views on controversial matters, always seek to include a fair balance of other views. Any comment or conjecture by the journalist writing the story should be identifiable as such.

2.3. AAP journalists have latitude to express their own views more freely only when, in the opinion of the Editor in Chief or Editor, they have special knowledge or expertise or sufficient reputation. Such pieces should be labelled as View, Comment or Analysis.

2.4. Individuals or groups singled out for criticism should be given a right of reply, in the original story whenever possible.

2.5. Emotive or contentious adjectives should be avoided unless they are being quoted.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

AAP accepts philanthropic donations and funding to support the losses of its operations. Donors and funders do not have any influence over editorial operations or the governance of the organisation. 

"We are non-partisan and objective in all our operations."

AAP FactCheck is funded by a targeted allocation from AAP's general newsroom budget and income earned through a Third-Party Fact-Checking partnership agreement with Facebook. Under this partnership agreement, AAP FactCheck maintains full editorial independence. AAP FactCheck has a homepage (factcheck.aap.com.au) within the AAP website (aap.com.au) with separate menu navigation and a different article treatment.

Seed funding for AAP FactCheck was originally contributed by Google News Initiative. GNI has offered funding towards costs associated with two short-term, election-specific fact-checking projects. Facebook has also recently supported AAP FactCheck's creation of a media literacy education campaign.

AAP has been pledged $15 million in federal government funding over two years to underpin its operation as it transitions from a company owned and supported by two major media outlet shareholders to a fully independent, not-for-profit news service. 

AAP FactCheck says in this application: "AAP operates editorially independently of the government in Australia - we have no political affiliations nor agendas, and do not receive funding from any individual politician or political party.":


done_all 1.5 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 1.6
Proof you meet criteria
If you confirmed the organization receives funding from local or foreign state or political sources, provide a link to where on your website you set out how you ensure the editorial independence of your work.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago)

AAP’s full Code of Practice and Neutrality statement can be found under our FactCheck "Who We Are" menu https://www.aap.com.au/factcheck-neutrality/ and is repeated on the general AAP site: https://www.aap.com.au/about-us/#item-2


Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

See AAP's FactCheck Neutrality Statement and Code of Practice: https://bit.ly/3q2Rggf 

This is repeated on AAP's main site. (See Impartiality and Fairness https://bit.ly/3nWnrLw


done_all 1.6 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Section 2: A commitment to Non-partisanship and Fairness

To be compliant on nonpartisanship and fairness, applicants must meet these five criteria

  • 2.1 The applicant fact-checks using the same high standards of evidence and judgement for equivalent claims regardless of who made the claim.
  • 2.2 The applicant does not unduly concentrate its fact-checking on any one side, considers the reach and importance of claims it selects to check and publishes a short statement on its website to set out how it selects claims to check.
  • 2.3 The applicant discloses in its fact checks relevant interests of the sources it quotes where the reader might reasonably conclude those interests could influence the accuracy of the evidence provided. It also discloses in its fact checks any commercial or other such relationships it has that a member of the public might reasonably conclude could influence the findings of the fact check.
  • 2.4 The applicant is not as an organization affiliated with nor declares or shows support for any party, any politician or political candidate, nor does it advocate for or against any policy positions on any issues save for transparency and accuracy in public debate.
  • 2.5 The applicant sets out its policy on non-partisanship for staff on its site. Save for the issues of accuracy and transparency, the applicant’s staff do not get involved in advocacy or publicise their views on policy issues the organization might fact check in such a way as might lead a reasonable member of the public to see the organization’s work as biased.

Criteria 2.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please share links to 10 fact checks published over the past year that you believe demonstrate your non-partisanship.
Please briefly explain how the fact checks selected show that (I) you use the same high standards of evidence for equivalent claims, (II) follow the same essential process for every fact check and (III) let the evidence dictate your conclusions.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

We apply the same high standard of fact-checking and editing to all our work. In the past six months we have spent the majority of our time and effort debunking COVID-19 misinformation, some of which has political overtones or implications. AAP does not focus on one side of politics over the other, and regardless of the subject matter, we apply the same methodology to arrive at all our various verdicts. We follow the evidence and facts to their conclusion and never work to support our own assumptions or agendas. The majority of the subjects we have tackled in the past six months have been important and widely relevant, but COVID-19 misinformation has dominated. This question seeks to ascertain if AAP FactCheck is non-partisan. The below list shows a range of misinformation about politicians and policies, or shared by politicians. Regardless of the politics associated with the claims we address, the same procedures are followed and the same high standard of evidence applied. The claims are selected based on our selection criteria and what is trending in Australia and the Pacific at the time of the check. The below articles show a mix of subject matters and political parties, but the articles are all following the facts to a set range of conclusions

Conservative - Liberal Party (Australia's federal ruling party)

https://www.aap.com.au/suggestion-australians-can-ignore-national-cabinet-decisions-ignores-the-facts/

https://www.aap.com.au/misleading-edit-of-gladys-berejiklian-clip-shrouds-her-stance-on-masks/

https://www.aap.com.au/misleading-claims-on-political-pensions-are-overdue-for-retirement/

https://www.aap.com.au/no-this-photo-doesnt-show-scott-morrison-wearing-a-30000-rolex/

https://www.aap.com.au/veteran-journalist-verballed-in-quote-about-pm-staff-lawyering-up/

https://www.aap.com.au/the-australian-army-isnt-forcibly-vaccinating-nsw-residents/

https://www.aap.com.au/counterfeit-pfizer-vaccine-case-and-new-supply-deal-are-poles-apart/

Progressive - Labour/Labor parties:

https://www.aap.com.au/radio-ga-ga-there-is-no-nz-government-gag-on-rnz-comments/

https://www.aap.com.au/times-up-on-daniel-andrews-fall-date-conspiracy/

https://www.aap.com.au/flyer-doesnt-expose-jacinda-ardern-on-nzs-democratic-future/

Right wing:

https://www.aap.com.au/constitutional-clause-doesnt-ban-vaccine-mandates-in-australia/





Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

I have examined the supplied links, as well as others on the AAP FactCheck site, and I am satisfied that AAP meets the necessary criteria.

From AAP FactCheck's application" "We apply the same high standard of fact-checking and editing to all our work. In the past six months, we have spent the majority of our time and effort debunking COVID-19 misinformation, some of which have political overtones or implications. AAP does not focus on one side of politics over the other, and regardless of the subject matter, we apply the same methodology to arrive at all our various verdicts. We follow the evidence and facts to their conclusion and never work to support our own assumptions or agendas.

"The majority of the subjects we have tackled in the past six months have been important and widely relevant, but COVID-19 misinformation has dominated. Regardless of the politics associated with the claims we address, the same procedures are followed and the same high standard of evidence applied. The claims are selected based on our selection criteria and what is trending in Australia and the Pacific at the time of the check."



done_all 2.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 2.2
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to a place on your website where you explain how you select claims to check, explaining how you ensure you do not unduly concentrate your fact-checking on any one side, and how you consider the reach and importance of the claims you select to check.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

AAP FactCheck's selection criteria are explained here: https://www.aap.com.au/factcheck-process/

 AAP FactCheck's Neutrality Statement can be found here: https://www.aap.com.au/factcheck-neutrality/

 

Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

In its application, AAP FactCheck says it does "not focus on one side of politics over the other, and regardless of the subject matter, we apply the same methodology to arrive at all our various verdicts. We follow the evidence and facts to their conclusion and never work to support our own assumptions or agendas."

AAP's process for selecting claims is clearly spelled out here: https://bit.ly/3CJeHhZ 

See here for its neutrality policy: https://bit.ly/3q2Rggf 


done_all 2.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 2.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous year. No additional information required.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

.n/a

Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Criteria have been met.


done_all 2.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 2.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous year. No additional information required.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

n/a

Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Criteria have been met.


done_all 2.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 2.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to a place on your website where you publish a statement setting out your policy on non-partisanship for staff and how it ensures the organization meets this criteria.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

AAP FactCheck content must be based on the facts alone. We do not include commentary, opinion or political bias. Staff must disclose any conflict of interest at the point when AAP FactCheck is assigning claims for checking - and while it has never occurred, if a conflict arose, that AAP FactCheck staff member would be removed from direct involvement in assessing the claim in question. 

As outlined in AAP's Code of Practice, failure to disclose a personal conflict can result in dismissal at the AAP Editor's discretion. We are bound by the AAP Code of Practice, but AAP FactCheck has more stringent requirements relating to never expressing opinion or judgment (2.2 and 2.3 in the Code of Practice).

Please see our Neutrality Statement and Full Code of Practice here: https://www.aap.com.au/factcheck-neutrality/  


Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

From AAP FactCheck's policy on Neutrality and its Code of Practice. (See here: https://bit.ly/3q2Rggf)

"AAP FactCheck scrupulously avoids commentary, opinion and political bias. AAP Factcheck does not assign content to staff who have a conflict of interest. As outlined in AAP’s Code of Practice, failure to disclose a personal conflict can result in dismissal, at the AAP Editor’s discretion."



done_all 2.5 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Section 3: A commitment to Standards and Transparency of Sources

To be compliant on sources, applicants must meet these four criteria

  • 3.1 The applicant identifies the source of all significant evidence used in their fact checks, providing relevant links where the source is available online, in such a way that users can replicate their work if they wish. In cases where identifying the source would compromise the source’s personal security, the applicant provides as much detail as compatible with the source’s safety.
  • 3.2 The applicant uses the best available primary, not secondary, sources of evidence wherever suitable primary sources are available. Where suitable primary sources are not available, the applicant explains the use of a secondary source.
  • 3.3 The applicant checks all key elements of claims against more than one named source of evidence save where the one source is the only source relevant on the topic.
  • 3.4 The applicant identifies in its fact checks the relevant interests of the sources it uses where the reader might reasonably conclude those interests could influence the accuracy of the evidence provided.

Criteria 3.1
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

n/a. 

Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

All sources are clearly identified and there are hyperlinks to the source documents, research paper or news article.


done_all 3.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 3.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

n/a. 

Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Criteria met.


done_all 3.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 3.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

n/a.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Criteria met.


done_all 3.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 3.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

n/a.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Criteria met.


done_all 3.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Section 4: A commitment to Transparency of Funding & Organization

To be compliant on funding and organization, applicants must meet these five criteria

  • 4.1 Applicants that are independent organizations have a page on their website detailing each source of funding accounting for 5% or more of total revenue for its previous financial year. This page also sets out the legal form in which the organization is registered (e.g. as a non-profit, as a company etc).
  • 4.2 Applicants that are the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization make a statement on ownership.
  • 4.3 A statement on the applicant’s website sets out the applicant’s organizational structure and makes clear how and by whom editorial control is exercised.
  • 4.4 A page on the applicant’s website details the professional biography of all those who, according to the organizational structure and play a significant part in its editorial output.
  • 4.5 The applicant provides easy means on its website and/or via social media for users to communicate with the editorial team.

Criteria 4.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please confirm whether you are an ‘independent organization’
or ‘the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization’ and share proof of this organizational status.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

AAP is a not-for-profit organisation committed to bringing accurate and unbiased news to the Australian mass media market and the public. AAP FactCheck is a unit within AAP and is allocated funding from the AAP budget. It is also subject to AAP's editorial principles and standards, but remains operationally separate from the daily news stream. 

AAP FactCheck has its own editor and journalists, and in some cases, more stringent standards than those that apply to the rest of AAP. The AAP FactCheck Editor reports to the AAP Managing Editor, in part to review FactCheck content to ensure it meets editorial standards and remains bias-free. Ultimately, the AAP Editor and CEO are responsible for all content from AAP but they have no daily input in the operations of AAP FactCheck.

Please see the Organisational Structure page: https://www.aap.com.au/aap-factcheck-organisational-structure/

Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

 AAP FactCheck is a unit within AAP and is allocated funding from the AAP budget. It is also subject to AAP's editorial principles and standards but remains operationally separate from the daily news stream.

"AAP FactCheck has its own editor and journalists, and in some cases, more stringent standards than those that apply to the rest of AAP.," it says in this application.

The AAP FactCheck Editor reports to the AAP Managing Editor, in part to review FactCheck content to ensure it meets editorial standards and remains bias-free. Ultimately, the AAP Editor and CEO are responsible for all content from AAP, but they have no daily input in the operations of AAP FactCheck.

See here for details or organisational structure: https://bit.ly/3k0hxYF  


done_all 4.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 4.2
Proof you meet criteria
If your organization is an “independent organization”, please share a link to the page on your website where you detail your funding and indicate the legal form in which the organization is registered (e.g. as a non-profit, as a company etc).
If your organization is “the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization”, please share a link to the statement on your website about your ownership.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Please see the Organisational Structure page: https://www.aap.com.au/aap-factcheck-organisational-structure/


Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Details of AAP FactCheck's ownership can be found here: https://bit.ly/3k0hxYF


done_all 4.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 4.3
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you set out your organizational structure, making clear how and by whom editorial control is exercised.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Please see the Organisational Structure page: https://www-aap.com.au/aap-factcheck-organisational-structure/

Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

In its application, AAP FactCheck says: "The AAP FactCheck Editor reports to the AAP Managing Editor, in part to review FactCheck content to ensure it meets editorial standards and remains bias-free. Ultimately, the AAP Editor and CEO are responsible for all content from AAP, but they have no daily input in the operations of AAP FactCheck."

See organogram of AAP FaxctCheck's organisational structure here: https://bit.ly/3k0hxYF  


done_all 4.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 4.4
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you set out the professional biographies of those who play a significant part in your organization’s editorial output.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Please see AAP FactCheck Team: https://www.aap.com.au/aap-factcheck-team/

Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

See here for details: https://bit.ly/3mFSsUT 


done_all 4.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 4.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you encourage users to communicate with your editorial team.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Please see:

Suggest A FactCheck / Make a Suggestion) page: https://www.aap.com.au/make-a-submission/

Request A Correction page: https://www.aap.com.au/factcheck-corrections/

Contact page: https://www.aap.com.au/contact-factcheck/

There is also a CONTACT US button at the foot of every page of our website.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

There is a "Contact" tab on the navigation bar, which appears on all of AAP FactCheck's web pages. It leads to this page https://bit.ly/3nSpVe6 On it is a contact form with a dropdown menu, which includes an option to "submit a claim for fact-checking". The page also includes a contact email address - FactCheck@aap.com.au  

The page also carries this sentence: "Please read our claim selection criteria within Our Process - hyperlinked - before submitting a claim to AAP FactCheck. The final decision on what content is fact-checked rests with the AAP FactCheck Editor."

The "Our Process" link leads to this page https://bit.ly/3CJeHhZ  on which the AAP FactCheck fact-checking and claims selection process is clearly set out. By doing this, users are educated about AAP FactCheck's processes. I would urge other organisations to adopt this simple measure, as it ensures that readers, who might not explore the site fully, are educated in the processes involved.

There is also a "Make a suggestion" tab in the navigation bar that is featured on all pages of the AAP FactCheck site. https://bit.ly/3nNOMj4 

There is also a "Contact Us" button and a contact phone number at the foot of every page of the website.



done_all 4.5 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Section 5: A commitment to Standards and Transparency of Methodology

To be compliant on methodology, applicants must meet these six criteria

  • 5.1 The applicant publishes on its website a statement about the methodology it uses to select, research, write and publish its fact checks.
  • 5.2 The applicant selects claims to check based primarily on the reach and importance of the claims, and where possible explains the reason for choosing the claim to check.
  • 5.3 The applicant sets out in its fact checks relevant evidence that appears to support the claim as well as relevant evidence that appears to undermine it.
  • 5.4 The applicant in its fact checks assesses the merits of the evidence found using the same high standards applied to evidence on equivalent claims, regardless of who made the claim.
  • 5.5 The applicant seeks where possible to contact those who made the claim to seek supporting evidence, noting that (I) this is often not possible with online claims, (II) if the person who makes the claim fails to reply in a timely way this should not impede the fact check, (III) if a speaker adds caveats to the claim, the fact-checker should be free to continue with checking the original claim, (IV) fact-checkers may not wish to contact the person who made the claim for safety or other legitimate reasons.
  • 5.6 The applicant encourages users to send in claims to check, while making it clear what readers can legitimately expect will be fact-checked and what isn’t fact-checkable.

Criteria 5.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a link to the statement on your website that explains the methodology you use to select, research, write and publish your fact checks.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Please see:

How We Work/Our Processes: https://www.aap.com.au/factcheck-process/

How We Work/Verdicts: https://www.aap.com.au/factcheck-verdicts/


Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

See: "Our Process" https://bit.ly/3CJeHhZ

And, Verdicts https://bit.ly/3CHj5yj reached via a "How we work" tab in the navigation bar on top of all web pages


done_all 5.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 5.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

n/a.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Criteria met.


done_all 5.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 5.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

n/a.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Criteria met.


done_all 5.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 5.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

n/a.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Criteria met.


done_all 5.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 5.5
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

n/a.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Criteria met.


done_all 5.5 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 5.6
Proof you meet criteria
Please describe how you encourage users to send in claims to check, while making it clear what readers can legitimately expect will be fact-checked and what isn’t fact-checkable. Include links where appropriate. If you do not allow this, explain why.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

AAP FactCheck has a page specifically dedicated to encouraging people to reach out to us with claims: https://www.aap.com.au/make-a-submission/

We also have a message encouraging readers to contact us on this page: https://www.aap.com.au/contact-factcheck/    

We clearly set out what is in and out of scope within the How We Work/Our Processes menu item https://www.aap.com.au/factcheck-process/ and reference or reiterate that information in multiple places on our website.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Users are encouraged to submit a claim at https://bit.ly/3nNOMj4 This page is reached via the "Submit a fact-check" tab in the navigation bar on top of all web pages.

Users are also able to reach out to AAP FactCheck via the "Contact" tab in the navigation bar on top of all pages.

What can be fact-checked and how claims are selected for checking are spelled out here: https://bit.ly/3CJeHhZ 


done_all 5.6 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Section 6: A commitment to an Open & Honest Corrections Policy

To be compliant on corrections policy, applicants must meet these five criteria

  • 6.1 The applicant has a corrections or complaints policy that is easily visible and accessible on the organization’s website or frequently referenced in broadcasts.
  • 6.2 The policy sets out clear definitions of what it does and does not cover, how major mistakes, especially those requiring revised conclusions of a fact check, are handled, and the fact that some complaints may justify no response. This policy is adhered to scrupulously.
  • 6.3 Where credible evidence is provided that the applicant has made a mistake worthy of correction, the applicant makes a correction openly and transparently, seeking as far as possible to ensure that users of the original see the correction and the corrected version.
  • 6.4 The applicant, if an existing signatory, should either on its corrections/complaints page or on the page where it declares itself an IFCN signatory inform users that if they believe the signatory is violating the IFCN Code, they may inform the IFCN, with a link to the IFCN site.
  • 6.5 If the applicant is the fact-checking unit of a media company, it is a requirement of signatory status that the parent media company has and adheres to an open and honest corrections policy.

Criteria 6.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a link to where you publish on your website your corrections or complaints policy. If you are primarily a broadcaster, please provide evidence you frequently reference your corrections policy in broadcasts.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Please see Request A Correction page: https://www.aap.com.au/factcheck-corrections/


Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

AAP FactCheck shares the same content corrections policies as AAP, its parent organisation.

"Inaccuracies or suspected inaccuracies that affect the integrity of stories published by AAP FactCheck will be dealt with promptly. An initial response can be expected within one business day of a problem coming to our attention. Where we acknowledge an inaccuracy, a correction will be urgently issued." - See https://bit.ly/2ZXF0D5 


done_all 6.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 6.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the corrections policy to verify it meets critera. No additional information needed.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

n/a.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Criteria met.


done_all 6.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 6.3
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a short statement about how the policy was adhered to over the previous year (or six months if this is the first application) including evidence of two examples of the responses provided by the applicant to a correction request over the previous year. Where no correction request has been made in the previous year, you must state this in your application, which will be publicly available in the assessment if your application is successful.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

AAP FactCheck articles lead to disagreement from those who dislike the published verdicts. The majority of feedback to AAP FactCheck is from people expressing frustration/disappointment with the outcome of one of our investigations. The feedback is frequently crude, offensive and/or threatening. However, any feedback containing genuine queries or challenges to the actual substance of the fact-check articles receives a prompt response - generally within one business day.  

A correction was made to two articles in February 2021 after a reader alerted the AAP FactCheck team to an error in a fact check published in November 2019, and another fact check published in December 2020 that relied on information from the previous article. The error did not alter the substance of either fact check or their verdicts, however background information included in the articles contained an incorrect calculation of the maximum pension entitlement for a former Australian prime minister. Once the correct figure was confirmed, the fact checks were updated and corrections noted at the end of the articles: https://factcheck.aap.com.au/politicians-salaries-vary-and-are-not-for-life/

https://www.aap.com.au/do-australias-politicians-enjoy-lavish-pension-perks/

A clarification was made to an article in August 2021 after a reader highlighted the use of potentially misleading terminology in an article published the same month. The article was updated to clarify the exact cause of death in several cases linked to AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines and a note added to the end of the article: https://www.aap.com.au/australian-students-did-not-die-in-covid-19-vaccination-drive/


Please find attached a copy of the email exchanges related to both examples, which originated from our feedback form.

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf August 2021 correcti... (286 KB) picture_as_pdf February 2021 correc... (1 MB)
Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

AAP FactCheck supplied two examples of corrections, published in 2020 and 2021 respectively, and one clarification that it published in 2021. In all three instances, the corrections and clarification that were done are clearly explained at the bottom of the original articles.


done_all 6.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 6.4
Proof you meet criteria
If you are an existing signatory, please provide a link to show where on your site you inform users that if they believe you are violating the IFCN Code, they may inform the IFCN of this, with a link to the complaints page on the IFCN site.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

A link to the IFCN Code of Principles and the IFCN complaint policy can be found on our Corrections page: https://www.aap.com.au/factcheck-corrections/

Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

There are clear links to both the IFCN Code of Principles and Complaints page on AAP FactCheck's "Request a correction" page https://bit.ly/2ZXF0D5


done_all 6.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 6.5
Proof you meet criteria
If you are the fact-checking unit of a media company, please provide a link to the parent media company’s honest and open corrections policy and provide evidence that it adheres to this.

Australian Associated Press
20-Oct-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

AAP's corrections policy is outlined in our Code of Practice: https://www.aap.com.au/about-us/#item-2

AAP's Standards Committee routinely monitors all responses to requests for corrections to ensure they align with our code of conduct as well as community standards. Standards reports twice yearly, and its latest report to the board of AAP was lodged in September 2021 noting no corrections policy breaches. That report notes that over a 12 month period an average of 1495 stories were published each week and there was an average of 3 corrections issued per week.

The corrections policy (linked above) states:

3. Corrections

3.1. Inaccuracies or suspected inaccuracies which affect the integrity of stories on our wires must be dealt with promptly.

3.2. When we acknowledge an inaccuracy, a correction should be issued at urgent priority.

3.3. Challenges to accuracy or fairness in our stories must be referred to the News Editor or Editor. If there is serious doubt, particularly on legal grounds, we must alert subscribers to hold a story pending clarification. If such doubts are confirmed, we must advise subscribers to kill the story, issue take-down notices to internet subscribers and replace with a corrected version as soon as possible.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
02-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

See "Corrections" in AAP's Code of Practice https://bit.ly/3nWnrLw 

"Corrections

3.1. Inaccuracies or suspected inaccuracies which affect the integrity of stories on our wires must be dealt with promptly.

3.2. When we acknowledge an inaccuracy, a correction should be issued at urgent priority.

3.3. Challenges to accuracy or fairness in our stories must be referred to the News Editor or Editor. If there is serious doubt, particularly on legal grounds, we must alert subscribers to hold a story pending clarification. If such doubts are confirmed, we must advise subscribers to kill the story, issue take-down notices to internet subscribers and replace it with a corrected version as soon as possible."


done_all 6.5 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.