The IFCN welcomes new applications to its Code of Principles beginning Jan. 16, 2024. Our website is currently under renovation, so new signatories should begin the application process by emailing their interest to info@ifcn.org with "New Signatory" in the subject line.

CivilNet

Organization: CivilNet
Applicant: Ani Grigoryan
Assessor: Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan

Background

Civilnet is an online TV /website operating in Armenia in several languages (ARM, RUS and ENG). It's an independent media house interested in creating fair and fact-checked media content. Recently civilnet.am established a unit - Civilnet Check. This team has a strong background and already experience in fact-checking. The editor is one of the very first pioneers in the field in Armenia. The Civilnet Check editorial team does essential work daily: debunking disinformation not only in Armenia but also in the larger region. There are several fact-checks about the countries neighbouring Armenia.

Assessment Conclusion

The applicant fully meets the IFCN Code of Practices. The civilnet.am is fair and profound, their fact-checking unit - Civilnet Check consists of professional fact-checkers, which makes their fact checks grounded and reasoned.

The Civilitas Foundation which owns the media is transparent and methodical, based on high standards. Also, it impacts the Civilnet team. They have done crucial and significant work in Armenia already for years. The organisation also supports the general public to get some fact-checking skills organising several study sessions, workshops and training courses in Armenia and outside of the county.

on 26-Sep-2022 (1 year ago)

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan assesses application as Compliant

A short summary in native publishing language

Սիվիլնեթի փաստերի ստուգման թիմն առանցքային կարևոր գործունեություն է իրականացնում՝ փորձելով հնարավորինս նվազեցնել ապատեղեկատվության տարածումը Հայաստանում և Հայաստանի մասին աշխարհում։ Թիմի անդամները փորձառու են և լավագույնս են տիրապետում փաստերի ստուգման ժամանակակից գործիքակազմին։ Հարթակը նպաստում է, որպեսզի փաստերի ստուգումը դառնա համակարգային։ Չնայած ոչ մեծաթիվ խմբագրակազմին՝ Սիվիլնեթի փաստերի ստուգման թիմը կատարում է ահռելի ծավալի աշխատանք։

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.

CivilNet
11-Jul-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Details about the CivilNet can be found in the “about us” section of CivilNet’s website: https://www.civilnet.am/en/about-us/

In short, CivilNet is an online television and media outlet with a focus on human rights and democracy in Armenia, regional peace and the Diaspora. CivilNet – a program of the Civilitas Foundation, was founded on September 21, 2011.

The goal of the Civilitas Foundation is to contribute to the strengthening of Armenia’s democratic development. The Civilitas Foundation was established in 2008.

Last year CivilNet established a fact-checking section: CivilNet Check.

Please find attached the registration document of the Civilitas Foundation. 


Files Attached
picture_as_pdf CF State Registratio... (4 MB)
Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

One can easily find details about CivilNet on its website in 2 languages - Armenian and English. However, the website also has Russian language content.

Public information about the CivilNet Check unit (team) is available on the website, according to which the unit is mainly focused on fact-checking and news verification.

Specific and documented information is shared with the IFCN about the Civilitas Foundation that runs CivilNet online TV.


done_all 1.1 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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?

CivilNet
11-Jul-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

CivilNetCheck (#CivilNetCheck) is CivilNet's fact-checking unit, operating since December 2021. Founded in 2011, CivilNet is one of the leading independent media outlets in Armenia. Since its inception, CivilNet has provided multi-faceted, evidence-based news and analysis. The establishment of CivilNet’s fact-checking unit as a separate department was motivated by the imperative to counter the flow of misinformation, fake news, and manipulation, and to present the truth to the public. #CivilNetCheck's main mission is to combat fake news in Armenia, uncover and inform the public about misinformation and manipulation, and promote fact-checking journalism. CivilNet has more than 40 employees. The #CivilNetCheck team still consists of three people: an editor and two fact-checking journalists who specialize in fact-checking journalism and have several years of experience in that field. The team regularly participates in courses and seminars to become more specialized in the field and acquire new skills. In addition, the team often acts as trainers for journalists in various courses, teaching fact-checking tools and media literacy to the general public.


The editor of #CivilNetCheck is Ani Grigoryan, whose responsibilities include selecting and approving topics and materials, checking and editing journalists' articles, rechecking the facts included in them, as well as writing articles. Leading CivilNet Check, she is also responsible for keeping the department up-to-date, implementing new tools, and meeting international standards of fact-checking journalism.  #CivilNetCheck journalists/fact-checkers Hovhannes Nazaretyan and Hayk Hovhannisyan are the main authors of CivilNet’s fact-checking materials. They monitor the media, social networks, and the general Internet, follow the speeches and interviews of political and public figures, identify the statements and claims that need to be verified, carry out their verification and, after coordinating with the editor, prepare articles and materials about them.
Videos and visual content published by #CivilNetCheck are produced with the help of CivilNet's video production team. Articles and materials are published and distributed on social networks through CivilNet's social media specialists. More information on the specialists mentioned above can be found at this link.


The #CivilNetCheck team also supports CivilNet journalists in preparing articles with accurate facts and without manipulation. If necessary, the team checks the facts in the other journalists' materials, provides information from various open sources and registries, and contributes to making the most accurate and fact-based CivilNet products. 


By monitoring the media, speeches, and interviews of political and public figures, the sessions of the Parliament and the government, social media, and the Internet overall, we try to detect fake news and manipulative claims and inform the public about them in the form of articles or other products.

Most of the public in Armenia follow information and information flows through social networks, particularly Facebook. CivilNet has a large number of followers on social networks, which enables #CivilNetCheck to reach a wider audience and more effectively fight against fake news and manipulation. While #CivilNetCheck continues its routine publications, it also aims to provide people with accurate and data-based information on more complex topics through in-depth research. 


Taking into account that disinformation and fake news are often widespread because there are no factual and accurate materials and references on these topics, #CivilNetCheck also aims to prepare factual articles that provide the most accurate, reliable sources on this or that issue.  For #CivilNetCheck is vital to help hold the government, authorities, government agencies, officials, and political forces accountable to the public. All these persons and institutions regularly make promises. We keep these promises and projects in a database called Institutional Memory, and regularly refer to them, informing the public at what stage they are, and whether they have been fulfilled or not.

In addition, we aim to promote media literacy and critical thinking among the public.

#CivilNetCheck has already received recognition and has become a reliable source for the public during these months. Our readers often contact us asking to verify this or that statement or news. We encourage them to write us. 

Being an IFCN member is a priority for us, as we are assured that we will be able to further develop fact-checking journalism in Armenia, to cooperate with Facebook through the network to prevent the spread of fake news and disinformation.

In addition to our daily work, we aim to produce short videos in the near future on media literacy, fact-checking tools, open sources, internet security, and other important topics, which we believe will be a comprehensive resource for the public and, given a large number of CivilNet followers, will reach a wider audience.

Besides that, the CivilNetCheck section on CivilNet's website is under construction. After it is complete, we will have verdicts next to the articles. We will also make several interactive changes to our website.

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Information about establishing the fact-checking unit under CivilNet is available on its website. The applicant also clearly answered why they wanted to start an operation in Armenia (Q1):  to counter the flow of misinformation, fake news, and manipulation, and to present the truth to the public.

civilnet.am has a small team of fact-checkers (just three employees). However, they publish pretty actively their fact-checks. The team lead of fact-checking unit, Ms. Ani Grigoryan, is also a media trainer and an investigative journalist who makes a TV program "From your pocket", which is very popular in Armenia. Team members are well-trained and continue participating in local and international seminars and workshops to improve their knowledge and skills (Q2).

All team members have their profiles available on the website.

The applicant also presented what the organisation carries out apart from preparing fact-checks and publishing news on their website (Q3).

The applicant has a clear vision of what it wants to achieve in the country of operation (Q4) in the coming year. It also will have visualized verdicts next to the articles, but as of now the visualization of the content is not rich.


done_all 1.2 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

CivilNet
11-Jul-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Since its establishment #CivilNetCheck has published more than 260 products, which include fact-checking articles, videos, social media posts, weekly shows, and in-depth articles. During the last six months, we published 123 articles, which is around 4-5 articles per week. Articles can be found at this link: in Armenian- https://www.civilnet.am/բաժիններ/civilnetcheck/, in English-https://www.civilnet.am/en/civilnetcheck/. Since CivilNet has a large audience from other countries and the diaspora, some of our articles are translated into English or Russian.

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

civilnet.am fact-checking team is quite active in publishing fact-checks, long-reads, videos and multimedia investigations during the year of 2022. The amount of publications is always increasing monthly.

The applicant mostly publishes in the Armenian language, and the frequency is 4-5 fact-checks weekly. However, only a limited number of publications are published in English and/or Russian. Please look at Screenshots N1 and N2 to see the difference between the Armenian and the foreign language publications.

Files Attached
Screenshot N1.jpg (261 KB) Screenshot N2.jpg (305 KB)
done_all 1.3 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

CivilNet
11-Jul-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The products are available at this link: in Armenian- https://www.civilnet.am/բաժիններ/civilnetcheck/, in English-https://www.civilnet.am/en/civilnetcheck/.

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Going through 40-45 publications chosen randomly from the previous three months (May-July, 2022), the assessor finds that Civilnet Check is one of the active units of the media house.

It's also a very popular fact-check platform in Armenia based on the interactions the media gets on its social media. Sometimes, based on the political activeness of the country of operation, Civlinet Check publishes 2-3 fact-checks daily.

There are also specific topics that cover only this platform.


done_all 1.4 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

CivilNet
11-Jul-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Both CivilNet and #CivilNetCheck have no commercial/institutional relationship with the state, politicians, or political parties. Information about CivilNet's and CivilNetCheck's funding is openly available on its website, section https://www.civilnet.am/մեր-մասին/. Not only do we publish the names of our donors, but organization annually undergoes an audit, which is also readily available on our website: https://bit.ly/3NXasnY
Please find attached english version of audit. 



Files Attached
picture_as_pdf Audit 2021 ENG.pdf (1 MB)
Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant has no relationship with the state, politicians or political parties. And it is clearly explained in the "About us" section.

Also, civilnet.am transparently provides its financial reports on the website. After analyzing those documents, it's clear that funding mostly comes from different media institutions and charitable foundations, but not the state, political actors, or foreign countries.

However, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency supported civilnet.am in 2021, and it is a government agency. The USA Embassy in Armenia also financially supported the media house. Information is available on the applicant's website.


done_all 1.5 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

CivilNet
11-Jul-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Like CivilNet, editorial decisions in #CivilNetCheck are made solely by the editors and the team. Our donors, partner organizations, and individuals can't have any influence or interference in editorial decisions and our products. Regarding editorial decisions, we also have a reference in our methodology. (https://bit.ly/3PgCtbA)

We do not directly or indirectly support any political party or power, nor do we take sides in national or international conflicts or disputes.

For us, political neutrality and impartiality are fundamental principles. In order to avoid political conflicts of interest, CivilNet and #CivilNetCheck do not allow their journalists to engage in political activities or join or openly support any political power or party.

#CivilNetCheck must maintain absolute impartiality during its activities and not express any political preferences. Furthermore, funding or support by any political party or power is prohibited.

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Provided link helped to understand that Civilnet's fact-checking team (Civilnet Check) is under the supervision of the editor-in-chief, and the person is in charge of ensuring that the team's editorial independence is not violated.

This sentence is kindly noticed on the website of the applicant։ "When dealing with the donors, our team is not constrained in any way to address the various issues."

The current statement demonstrates the applicant's accountability for funding from a local or foreign state or political sources.


done_all 1.6 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

CivilNet
11-Jul-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

1. https://bit.ly/3uGEZQe

2. https://bit.ly/3uG4vF3

3. https://bit.ly/3ItmeoO

4. https://bit.ly/3IBlP40

5. https://bit.ly/3IuNAuL

6. https://bit.ly/3RnJ2uq

7. https://bit.ly/3Rrzhv6

8. https://bit.ly/3yzOXnk

9. https://bit.ly/3nVJRgC

10. https://bit.ly/3c7XQNH

The presented articles and all other articles and products published by #CivilNetCheck prove that there are no favorite political powers and figures when it comes to our work, we are impartial and address all those cases that can mislead the public and distort public opinion.

We address both the government and the opposition. We keep media in various camps, whose publications are incorrect, false, or misleading, under our constant watch, (unfortunately, the media field in Armenia is largely polarized, and there are few independent media).

Aiming to become a member of the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), #CivilNetCheck aligns its operations and methodology with the standards of the U.S. Poynter Journalism Institute. We are guided by the fact-checking principles of the International Fact-Checking Network. 

For us, the primary thing is the public interest.

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Political neutrality and impartiality are the strengths of the Civilnet Check team. On the website, in the methodology, the applicant has presented (in Armenian and in English) the way they select the topics for fact-checking and who is responsible for approving the topics.

Also, the applicant has a policy of non-partisanship for its journalists. According to the information provided in the application, "the CivilNet and #CivilNetCheck do not allow their journalists to engage in political activities or join or openly support any political power or party".

The fact-checks from civilnet.am touch on misinformation from the ruling party representatives, the government officials, opposition leaders and other public figures without taking any side when bringing the conclusions and verdicts. The system of the verdicts is explained on the website. However, not all fact-checks are with verdicts.

The methodology is placed in a very noticeable place on the website (in ARM version). The banner leads one to read it first. Have a look at Screenshot N3.

The applicant shared ten fact checks, and all of them demonstrate their non-partisanship and how it lets the evidence dictate their conclusions. 

Files Attached
Screenshot N3.jpg (31 KB)
done_all 2.1 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

CivilNet
11-Jul-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

In our methodology, we have detailed how we select the claims and statements to be checked. What is the process of verifying claims and ultimately how is a decision made to write about the claim or not?

On a daily basis, our journalists are looking for statements and claims "worthy" of being checked. The team monitors watches and reads statements, interviews, speeches, statements, and messages from politicians, public figures, political powers, state and government bodies, as well as their posts on social networks. They monitor broadcast television, online and print media, and social media. Regional (Russian, Iranian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Turkish) and international media publications and news related to Armenia and Armenians are also at the center of the journalists’ attention. For #CivilNetCheck, it doesn't matter which political power or figure makes the wrong claim or statement. The team addresses all political powers.

Our selection of fact-checked materials is broad and based on the following criteria:

Does the statement seem wrong or misleading?

Is the topic relevant and of public interest?

If it is wrong, can it harm the public or democracy by distorting public opinion? We do not address slips of the tongue and minor mistakes.

Are there facts in the statement that are verifiable and can they be singled out? We never verify or comment on opinions, predictions and rhetoric.

After reading or listening to the statement, will an average person have questions as to its accuracy?

How much has the information spread? We investigate whether the statement or claim has been shared and reprinted by media outlets with large audiences and high visibility, as well as by various individuals and platforms on social media.

Is it possible for the information to be further disseminated or repeated by other people? We also study how quickly information spreads and generates interactions.

As stated, we do not deal with opinions and predictions. The statement that is to be checked must contain certain facts or information, the accuracy or reliability of which can be verified.

You can find the process in more detail here.

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The online available methodology of Civilnet Check explains (in Armenian and in English) how their journalists select the claims and politicians' statements to check and how the editorial team works. Also, the methodology clarifies how the editor questions the claims by asking several questions to understand the importance of the claims.

There is also a video production team at Civilnet which helps the fact-checker visualize their findings and fact-checks.


done_all 2.2 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

With careful analysis of the fact-checks published on Civilnet Check over the last 6-7 months, it's conspicuous that the civilnet.am team fully discloses the relevant interests of the sources it quotes in its publications. The audience can understand those interests and see if it influences the accuracy. There are no commercial publications on the website.

The civilnet.am platform is fully ads-free. Users don't even need to use any add-blockers.


done_all 2.3 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The civilnet.am team follows its policy of non-partisanship for staff and the content. Taking into account the operation country context, it's clear that the applicant is not affiliated with any political party, political actors or the state, and in their fact-checks, the staff does not support any politicians and political candidates.

The Civilnet Check also does not advocate for or against any policy positions. It covers the news on those policies, but never advocates for any of them.


done_all 2.4 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

CivilNet
11-Jul-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Civilnet Check team has everything needed in the methodology, including the part about the non-partisanship policy for the staff member. It's available on its website.

It would be preferable that the applicant sets out its policy on non-partisanship for staff separately, not just a new paragraph in the Methodology.

Understanding the country's context, the staff members (especially, fact-checkers) don't get involved in advocacy or publicize their views on policy issues the organisation might want to check. When hiring a journalist, the editor ensures that the new staff member will meet these criteria: "In order to avoid political conflicts of interest, CivilNet does not allow its journalists to engage in political activities or join or openly support any political power or party."


done_all 2.5 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Going through an analysis of around 40 fact-checks on the civilnet.am website, the assessor found that Civilnet Check team identifies all sources of significant evidence they use in their fact checks. For example, in this fact check (https://www.civilnet.am/en/news/649976/) is about the outmigration from Armenia. The fact check has six links to the sources and data available online, so the readers can replicate civilnet.am piece if they want. The hyperlinks and online sources mentioned in the fact checks are in ,red and it's easy for the users to identify those (please have a look at screenshot N4).

The assessor has not noticed a case where identifying the source compromises the source's personal security. Most fact checks are based on open data, and almost all claims and sources are available online.

Files Attached
Screenshot N4.jpg (356 KB)
done_all 3.1 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

At Civilnet Check, fact-checkers use the best available primary sources. Several fact checks are published a couple of days later, as the editorial team is in need of sending an information request to the public bodies and government agencies to get the primary source confirmation and it takes time in Armenia (5 working days at least is needed by law). This information is also explained in the fact checks, so the users can understand that the applicant uses the best available primary sources.

In case of not having suitable primary sources available in the fact checks, the civilnet.am team explains to its readers why it uses a secondary source.


done_all 3.2 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The randomly chosen samples of fact checks for the assessor's analysis showed that at Civilnet fact-checkers care about transparency and reliability, and when checking all key elements of claims they use several sources (open data, registry information, inquiries to the public bodies and government agencies) to bring a variety of sources in the fact checks.

Where the source is the only one relevant to the claim, the applicant explains why they rely on the source only and publish a fact check on the topic. Here is an example (https://www.civilnet.am/news/669436/) where the conclusion's source is based only on one source: the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports.


done_all 3.3 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Civilnet Check team mostly uses sources easily available (mainly online) to the general public, so readers can use the same system to do their own fact check. How to use the source to check the claim is an approach that sometimes is explained in some fact checks of the applicant.

The Civilnet Check team often identifies in its fact checks (the ones analyzed by the assessor) the relevant interests of the sources it uses. The reader might reasonably conclude those interests could influence the accuracy of the evidence provided. This is true especially when it comes to fact-checking statements from the public bodies and government.


done_all 3.4 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

CivilNet
11-Jul-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Civilitas focuses on media; its biggest project - CivilNet online television is guided by the principle of enabling/supporting consistent, open and grounded discourse, utilizing research, inclusive dialogue - doing journalism in the public interest. Founded in 2011 by Civilitas foundation, CivilNet has had a tremendous impact on the enhancement of journalistic capacity in Armenia.

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf CF State Registratio... (4 MB)
Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant clearly explained that it's an independent team (unit) specialized in fact-checking of a media house. The organisational structure is presented in the "About us" section. This helps to understand how the Civilnet Check team is operating.

The applicant shares the required information regarding the finances in their annual reports. Those reports are available on its website. For example, this one covers 2021

The financial report for 2020 is also available on the website. However, the previous reports can't be found, also those reports are mainly available only in ARM section.


done_all 4.1 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

CivilNet
11-Jul-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

We indicate our ownership in our Methodology

CivilNet explains its funding relationships on page https://www.civilnet.am/մեր-մասին/ transparently. We publish not only the badges of our donors, but the organization annually undergoes an audit, which also is published on our website transparently. Link- https://bit.ly/3NXasnY


Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant shares information on its website ("About us" section) that it's a media initiative of the Civilitas Foundation. The financial reports help the reader to understand more about the funding of the organisation and the structure. The legal form of the organisation is also presented on the website.

There is also a clear statement on the "About us" section that Civilnet has a fact-checking unit - Civilnet Check. 


done_all 4.2 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

CivilNet
11-Jul-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

In our Methodology, we describe the structure and hierarchy of #CivilNetCheck. 

Besides, CivilNet's "About Us" section features all CivilNet team members. https://www.civilnet.am/en/about-us/



Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The structure of the Civilnet team is presented in the "About us" section. Readers interested in finding more information about the fact-checking unit structure can found information in the Methodology part (available in "About us")


done_all 4.3 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

CivilNet
11-Jul-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Biographies of all team members, including editors, are available here: https://www.civilnet.am/en/about-us/


Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The professional biographies of those who play a significant role in the organization are available in the "About us" section. That includes all employees of the media house. However, Civilnet Check is a separate department, so a change is needed to be clear with the readers.

If possible, the media house should also have the biographies of three fact-checkers available on the Civilnet Check webpage.

Author publications are not required for the bio listings: however, Civilnet Check may consider making hyperlink publications to the individual names and correcting any broken links.


done_all 4.4 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

CivilNet
11-Jul-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Օur phone numbers and email addresses are listed on the top page and the bottom of the CivilNet website. They are also mentioned on various social media pages of CivilNet. We post regularly, asking our followers to suggest topics, report falsehoods, contact us if they have questions about a particular claim.

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant phone numbers and email addresses are listed on the top page and at the bottom of civilnet.am. Please look at Screenshots N5 & N6.

The Civilnet Check team encourages its readers to communicate with the editorial team through social media accounts. 

Files Attached
Screenshot N5.jpg (45 KB) Screenshot N6.jpg (24 KB)
done_all 4.5 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

CivilNet
11-Jul-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

A broad, detailed, and understandable explanation of the methodology and editorial rules is available on the website.

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Civilnet Check has on its website a separate page (titled "About Civilnet Check" and available on the "About us" section of the media house. Users can read not only about the unit but also the methodology it uses to select, research, write and publish its fact checks.


done_all 5.1 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The samples analyzed by the assessor showed that the editorial team has a structured way of writing fact checks. It often starts with a paragraph about the reason they check the claim. In the Methodology paragraph, the applicant clearly explains how the editor and journalists select claims: the checking is based primarily on the outreach and importance of the topics.


done_all 5.2 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The editorial team is very careful when working with the evidence that appears to support the claim or conclusion. All published fact checks are well reasoned, and the readers won't be confused with the materials presented on civilnet.am.

The methodology is reflected in the fact checks.


done_all 5.3 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

In all publications, the Civilnet team is not biased when it comes to using the same high standards applied to evidence on claims, regardless of who made a claim.

From time to time media house's reputation is attacked by the opposition or the government officials. It shows that the Civilnet Check team doesn't satisfy all sides. However, those sides use publications and fact-checks of the media house to show each other that they are spreading misinformation and manipulations. This is a proof that the applicant uses the same high standards regardless of who made a claim.

The Methodology also insists that the media house uses always the highest standards regardless of who made a claim.


done_all 5.4 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

In the fact checks analyzed by the assessor, it's clear that the applicant tried to contact those who made a claim, and then it was checked. The applicant does this to add supporting evidence as mentioned in their fact checks.

Also, if the person who made a claim failed to reply promptly, the civilnet.am team mentions this in their fact checks.

There are also cases (for example, an investigation on the speaker of the Armenian parliament and his newly renovated house) where fact-checkers did not wish to contact the person who made a false claim for safety reasons. This largely refers to the other journalistic investigations available on civilnet.am.


done_all 5.5 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

CivilNet
11-Jul-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Our followers can send the claims, articles, and statements that they are suspicious of via e-mail (info@civilnet.am), CivilNet's Facebook page, Twitter account, or just contact via phone. 

What is checkable or uncheckable is clearly stated in our Methodology. We also published an article and a video about CivilNetCheck, explaining who we are, and what we do, and encouraging our followers to be active, cooperate with us and be our partner. https://bit.ly/3PlPvEh


Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

What is possible to check is clearly stated in the Methodology. Why the Civilnet Check team can't check something is also clarified there. civilnet.am team encourages their followers to be active, cooperate with them and be their partners.

The readers can also continue using the contact details shared by the media house on its website and social media accounts.

However, I would suggest the Civilnet Check team making the sections within the Methodology easier to locate and read. Also providing a timeframe for feedback to the audience with explanations more than expected.


done_all 5.6 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

CivilNet
11-Jul-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Correction policy is part of the #CivilNetCheck's methodology.

Transparency is important in both receiving information and presenting it. Although the #CivilNetCheck team makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the materials, we understand that errors cannot be avoided. The team will fix them quickly and clearly. They will not hide and will do their best to make corrections appear in the same news cycle, highlighting the fact that a correction has been made.

Readers and others can contact us by email, via our Facebook page, or by calling us directly in case they spot a mistake in our articles or to dispute any material. #CivilNetCheck will review all submissions to ensure they are correct and will correct any errors in the published materials.

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The methodology has a paragraph on the correction policy. It would be good to see this policy elsewhere, outside the methodology.

Team members will not hide and will do their best to make corrections appear in the same news cycle, highlighting that a correction has been made.


done_all 6.1 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The policy is well written and clearly formulated, and the organisation tries to follow it in case of complaints. Unfortunately, the policy is under Methodology. It would be better to have it separately. Also, the correction policy has nothing that explains why some complaints may justify no response. This part must be clarified.


done_all 6.2 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

CivilNet
11-Jul-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

During the eight months of operation of #CivilNetCheck, there has not been a case where we made a factual or other error in our materials or products. We have not received any complaint from any body or person regarding this or that publication. As we mentioned above, we have established our correction policy from the beginning, but so far we have not needed to use it. We will, however, not hesitate to use this tool if such a need arises, since our main priority is providing accurate information to the public.

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant has not shared examples stating that during their operation there was no an error made. However, the applicant ensures that the readers can see the correction in the original publication.

The title also includes the word "updated". Also "an alert text is placed at the top of the article explaining what has been fixed and why. Then, the correction is made in the text of the article and, if necessary, is reflected in the article’s title and verdict".


done_all 6.3 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

CivilNet
11-Jul-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

n/a

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant is not an existing signatory.


done_all 6.4 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.

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.

CivilNet
11-Jul-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

CivilNet's Data Verification Guide for Journalists clearly explains how a CivilNet journalist should correct errors. (https://bit.ly/3RHmdBZ)

Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan Assessor
20-Aug-2022 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The civilnet.am is a media platform of the Civilitas Foundation, but the latter is not a media company itself. There is also the Data verification guide published on the website. It clearly explains how the journalist should make a correction.


done_all 6.5 marked as Compliant by Harutyun (Harry) Tsatryan.