Congo Check

Organization: Congo Check
Applicant: Rodriguez Katsuva
Assessor: Laurent Bigot
Edits made by the organization after this assessment

IFCN Staff wrote:

We added our policy of correction. We gave détails about found etc.

And on the other point,the assessor said that Congo Chevk is not quoted into our statut registered in our country. But if you see on the page 2, it's written. I join here the proof. 


Conclusion and recommendations
on 08-Dec-2019 (3 months ago)

Laurent Bigot wrote:

According to this first assessment, I think Congo Check is not a totally reliable fact-checking partner for the moment.

This media is not really compliant with several principles enacted by the IFCN. 

It's probably normal, because it's a new media with modests means.

That' why, to give it a chance to reach the IFCN principles, I suggest to accept it with edits.

There are a lot of edits to produce for the team, but it should be able to produce them thanks to the explaination of this assessment.

But beware ! Without these corrections, the site can in no way hope to be declared compliant with the IFCN Code of Principles.

on 08-Dec-2019 (3 months ago)

Laurent Bigot recommended Accept with edits


Section 1: Organization

Criterion 1a
Proof of registration
Evidence required: Please provide evidence that the signatory is a legally-registered organization set up exclusively for the purpose of fact-checking or the distinct fact-checking project of a recognized media house or research institution.

Congo Check
03-Nov-2019 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Congo Check is a project of IFC, Initiative des factcheckeurs du Congo. The aim of IFC is to fight against misinformations,  rumors, hate speech and to make a follow up of leaders promises in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Congo Check has been created in the beginning 2018 by 3 journalists, Smmy Mupfuni, Rodriguez Katsuva and Fiston Mahamba. We are legally-registered. I join it here bellow.

Files Attached
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Laurent Bigot Assessor
08-Dec-2019 (3 months ago)

Cong Check is a legally registered organization set up exclusively for the purpose of fact-checking.

An evidence of its legal registration is joined by the team... but it's not avalaible to the public and it doesn't mention the Congo Check website, but only the IFC, a non-profit organization.


done 1a marked as Partially compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criterion 1b
Archive
Evidence required: Insert a link to the archive of fact checks published in the previous three months. If you do not collect all fact checks in one place, please explain how the fact-checking is conducted by your organization.

Laurent Bigot Assessor
08-Dec-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Congo Check publishes reports about the accuracy of claims regularly but less than once a week for the last past three months. 

For example, it didn't publish any fact-check in october... 


done 1b marked as Partially compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Section 2: Nonpartisanship and Fairness

Criterion 2a
Body of work sample
Evidence required: Please share links to ten fact checks that better represent the scope and consistency of your fact-checking. Provide a short explanation of how your organization strives to maintain coherent standards across fact checks.

Congo Check
03-Nov-2019 (5 months ago)

Congo Check is a team of 16 volunteers. Journalists living in several towns in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. All these journalists scan the Internet for rumors or information that seems false. Afterwards, they share the news found on the internet, or circulating in the communities, and so the editorial staff decides how to find out the truth about the fake news. We call sources who can refute or confirm the information, we do research on the Internet, we cross-check the information collected and then we publish the verified article.

http://www.congocheck.net/faux-le-vaccin-contre-ebola-nest-pas-un-poison-mortel-pour-tuer-les-congolais/

http://www.congocheck.net/ce-faux-compte-de-kabila-qui-publie-des-hommages-authentiques-a-robert-mugabe/

http://www.congocheck.net/attention-larticle-attribue-a-rfi-sur-une-pretendue-rage-de-chien-au-siege-est-une-infox/

http://www.congocheck.net/desintox-ces-fausses-cartes-didentite-attribuees-a-des-personnalites-congolaises/

http://www.congocheck.net/taux-dacces-a-lelectricite-en-rdc-felix-tshisekedi-a-avance-un-chiffre-incorrect/

http://www.congocheck.net/factcheck-ebola-faux-goma-na-pas-encore-totalise-40-jours-sans-nouveau-cas/

http://www.congocheck.net/livraison-de-vaccins-par-drone-le-vaccin-contre-ebola-na-pas-ete-deploye/

http://www.congocheck.net/faux-la-publication-dune-pretendue-nomination-de-henri-yav-comme-premier-ministre-de-la-rdc-est-une-infox/

http://www.congocheck.net/report-partiel-des-scrutins-ce-presume-tweet-de-nangaa-est-un-faux/

http://www.congocheck.net/la-controversee-lettre-de-demande-dadhesion-de-la-rdc-a-la-communaute-des-etats-dafrique-de-lest-est-authentique/





Criterion 2b
Nonpartisanship policy
Evidence required: Please share evidence of your policy preventing staff from direct involvement in political parties and advocacy organizations. Please also indicate the policy your organization has as a whole regarding advocacy and supporting political candidates.

Congo Check
03-Nov-2019 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

These is written in our STATUT. We are an media linked to a non-profit and non-governmental organization without any preferential part. No one of the staff is in any political party, no one is linked to opponents or powerholder. You can also read it here on our website:

http://www.congocheck.net/a-propos/ 

Laurent Bigot Assessor
08-Dec-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Congo Check explains its policies to preserve its non-partisan way of fact-checking claims on a text titled “Our policy” here:

http://www.congocheck.net/a-propos/ 

It evokes :

"To ensure the independence of our content, we make sure that no member of the team is involved in political activities or that any of us have any affiliation with a political group or any other citizen movement . We follow the publications of each of our employees online to ensure that they have not taken a stand or engaged in a political struggle. This is to ensure the independence of our project vis-à-vis political organizations."


done_all 2b marked as Fully compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Section 3: Transparency of Sources

Criterion 3a
Sources Policy
Please share a brief and public explanation (500 words max) of how sources are provided in enough detail that readers could replicate the fact check. If you have a public policy on how you find and use sources for your fact-checking, it should be shared here.

Congo Check
03-Nov-2019 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

We always give names of people and sources in our factchecks. If a source want to stay anonymous, then we don't use his quote. We add also screenshots ou hyperlinks. On our site we do give also some ideas on how we check images and videos.

Laurent Bigot Assessor
08-Dec-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The Congo Check’s public policy on sources mentions:

"We are careful to diversify our sources, but the most important thing for us is that the source is reliable and has proof of knowledge in the field of information to verify. We therefore contact government sources, specialized non-governmental organizations and independent experts to shed light on the topics we are auditing."

The team also explains :

"We always give names of people and sources in our factchecks. If a source want to stay anonymous, then we don't use his quote. We add also screenshots ou hyperlinks. On our site we do give also some ideas on how we check images and videos."


But in the Congo Check reports, key sources are not always referenced in a way that readers, viewers or listeners can use to replicate the fact check...




done 3a marked as Partially compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Section 4: Transparency of Funding & Organization

Criterion 4a
Funding Sources
Evidence required: Please link to the section where you publicly list your sources of funding (including, if they exist, any rules around which types of funding you do or don't accept), or a statement on ownership if you are the branch of an established media organization or research institution.

Congo Check
03-Nov-2019 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Cotisation of members

We had, in 2018 a Grant from the Shuttleworth foundation, 5000 us dollars, that allowed us to launch our app and also to have officies and same computers.

We are currently working with Facebook. They are founding some of our activities. 

The only found we do accept is grants, awards, and partnership in wich Congo Check does factchecking for the partener. We don't accept money from government, from politicians or from activists. 

Laurent Bigot Assessor
08-Dec-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Congo Check is a standalone fact-checking organization which is not really transparent about how it is funded.

The ownership of Congo Check is explained here, by the team :

"Contribution of members

We had, in 2018, Grant from the Shuttleworth Foundation, 5000 US Dollars, which was allowed to launch our app.

We are currently working with Facebook. They are founding some of our activities.

The only found we do accept is grants, awards, and partnership in wich Congo Check does factchecking for the partner. We do not accept money from government, from politicians or from activists."


But, in the website, we can only read a text titled "Our funding" (http://www.congocheck.net/a-propos):

"We are evolving from the outset thanks to our own resources through membership fees We also benefit from the technical support of Africa Check (a fact-checking organization) which assists us with series of upgrade and sharing experiences."




cancel 4a marked as Non compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criterion 4b
Staff
Evidence required: Please link to the section detailing all authors and key actors behind your fact-checking project with their biographies. You can also list the name and bios of the members of the editorial board, pool of experts, advisory board, etc. if your organization has those.

Congo Check
03-Nov-2019 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Sammy MUPFUNI

CEO and co-founder

Managing Director of Congo Check, Sammy is an investigative journalist and fact-checker based in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In January 2018, he created Congo Check with other colleagues. In 2010, he began his career as a journalist with a local radio station. Since 2016, he has been interested in online media and surveys.


Rodriguez KATSUVA

Co-founder and editor

Rodriguez worked for 7 years in the audiovisual industry as a journalist, reporter and news manager. He was an editor in a peace monthly in eastern DRC. Later, he started writing on the web and is a blogging editor and trainer. He is passionate about political issues in the Great Lakes sub-region. He is currently preparing his Master's degree in Media and Innovation in Paris.


Fiston MAHAMBA

Co-founder

A journalist based in eastern DRC since 2012, he forged his career in this field after several journalism courses before enrolling at the École Supérieure de Journalisme de Lille. His fields of work are the environment, development, employment, new technologies, agriculture,... that he covers in writing and images.

Ezra TSONGO

Journalist

Web journalist. Congolese of origin, and based in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Passionate about information and blogging. 

Zanem Nety Zaidi

Journalist

Zanem Nety Zaidi is a Congolese journalist and blogger based in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has been working as a journalist since 2015. Since 2016, he has been interested in online media and blogging, but above all he seems much more interested in fact cheking, a way for him to fight against misinformation.

Laetitia KASONGO

Journalist

Freelance journalist based in Goma, DRC. Finished her studies in information and communication science at UCBC. I started my career as a local radio in 2009. After about 7 years in the field of radio and television, started to take an interest in web journalism in 2016. In 2018,  she discovered factchecking and joined Congo Check.

Claude SENGENYA

Journaliste

Claude Sengenya: journaliste indépendant basé en ville de Butembo en république démocratique du Congo. Ayant débuté dans la presse audiovisuelle, il s’intéresse aux nouveaux médias (médias en ligne) depuis 2016. Il rejoint Congo Check vers le début de l’année 2019. Il s’intéresse aux questions politiques, humanitaires, sécuritaires et de justice transitionnelle !


Dido KAYEMBE

Journalist

Dido Kayembe has been a journalist based in eastern DRC since November 2010 after a year of training in political journalism. For one year from 2011 to 2012, he was editor-in-chief of CCTV - RADIO LIBERTE BENI, from 2013 to 2018.

Dido Kayembe is passionate about political and social issues in eastern DRC.


Rose MATHE

Journalist

Rose MATHE is a young Congolese woman journalist living in Goma, North Kivu. She started while she was still a student, her career as a journalist in 2013 on Emmanuel TV, before joining Kivu 1, another local channel. Since August 2018, she has been working with Blessing Radio. She joined the Congo Check team in March 2019.


Daniel MICHOMBERO

Journalist

Daniel Michombero Journalist based in Goma, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Video specialist, blogger, fixer. Editor of various online media Fact-cheker of Congo Check since June 2018.


Steves MBUSA

Journalist

Steves MBUSA, Web journalist. Congolese by origin, and based in Kisangani in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Passionate about information, investigation and blogging. Started working in audiovisual journalism in 2013 and then, started working in web journalism in 2017. 


Mervielles KIRO

Journalist

A Congolese journalist based in Goma in eastern DRC, Merveille began his career in Beni with a local radio station in 2014. He perfected his skills in Goma, where sport would be his main field until he became a correspondent for Digital Congo in Goma. Today, Merveille is the director of a radio station in Goma. Interested in blogging, he joined Congo Check since 2018 to destroy infox and rumors.

Laurent Bigot Assessor
08-Dec-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

There’s a “people section” detailing authors behind the project and their biographies on Congo Check’s website, here:

http://www.congocheck.net/notre-equipe/


All the articles are signed by their author.




done_all 4b marked as Fully compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criterion 4c
Contact
Evidence required: Please link to the section where readers can get in touch with the organization.

Congo Check
03-Nov-2019 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago
Laurent Bigot Assessor
08-Dec-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

It’s easy for readers to contact Cong Check’s team: there’s a contact page called "We propose an article" (http://www.congocheck.net/nous-proposer-un-article/), with a form to complete and there’s an generic email address on the footer of the website home page : info@congocheck.net. 

There also a phone number on the footer of the website home page...



done_all 4c marked as Fully compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Section 5: Transparency of Methodology

Criterion 5a
Detailed Methodology
Evidence required: Please link to a section or article detailing the steps you follow for your fact-checking work.

Congo Check
03-Nov-2019 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago
Laurent Bigot Assessor
08-Dec-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Congo Check gives precisions about its fact-checking methodology in its about section here :
http://www.congocheck.net/a-propos/

"Our drafting rules and factchecking steps

We follow a number of the rules in carrying out our activities which is that of the publication of factchecks or fact verification articles. The steps are:

- We first identify the information we are called to verify.

- We identify the source of the information to check whether it is reliable or not.

- We list the potential reliable sources to confront the data of the information that we verify

- We contact sources deemed reliable depending on the area in which we locate the information.

- We publish the conclusions in the factcheck. In this one we affirm if the information is true or false.

Among our basic rules, we do not express our own opinions in a factcheck but we strictly limit the facts. For the transparency, we explain in our texts, the means by which we managed to obtain the true version of the information."


Congo Check should explain with more details its methodology.


done 5a marked as Partially compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criterion 5b
Claim submissions
Evidence required: Please link to the page or process through which readers can submit claims to fact-check. If you do not allow this, please briefly explain why.

Congo Check
03-Nov-2019 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago
Laurent Bigot Assessor
08-Dec-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

There’s a dedicated page to invite readers to submit claims to fact-check on Congo Check’s website. We can find it here:

http://www.congocheck.net/nous-proposer-un-article/ 

This page contain a specific form to send it to the staff, and the page is reachable from the menu.

But this page doesn't really present to readers rules to respect to submit a fact-checkable claim.


done 5b marked as Partially compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Section 6: Open & Honest Corrections Policy

Criterion 6a
Corrections policy
Evidence required: Please link to the page with your policy to address corrections. If it is not public, please share your organization's handbook.

Congo Check
03-Nov-2019 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

As classical journalists, If we make mistake, we will publish a mea culpa. But, thanks to God, this has never happened from our beginning.

.

Laurent Bigot Assessor
08-Dec-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The Congo Check’s website doesn't give precisions about its corrections policy in a specific webpage, nowhere.



cancel 6a marked as Non compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criterion 6b
Examples of corrections
Evidence required: Please provide two examples of a correction made, or correction requests handled, in the past year.

Congo Check
03-Nov-2019 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

From our creation, we did not do any mistake yet  that needed to be corrected. 

Laurent Bigot Assessor
08-Dec-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Congo Check didn't tested its corrections policy since its website is online.


done 6b marked as Partially compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Section 7: Eligibility to be a signatory

Criterion 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.

Criterion 1.2
The team, unit or organization is set up exclusively for the purpose of fact-checking.

Criterion 1.3
The applicant has published an average of at least one fact check a week over the course of the three months prior to the date of application.

Criterion 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.

Criterion 1.5
The applicant’s editorial output is not, in the view of the IFCN, controlled by the state, a political party or politician.

Criterion 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.

Section 8: A commitment to Non-partisanship and Fairness

Criterion 2.1
The applicant fact-checks using the same high standards of evidence and judgement for equivalent claims regardless of who made the claim.

Criterion 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.

Criterion 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.

Criterion 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.

Criterion 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.

Section 9: A commitment to Standards and Transparency of Sources

Criterion 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.

Criterion 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.

Criterion 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.

Criterion 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.

Section 10: A commitment to Transparency of Funding & Organization

Criterion 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).

Criterion 4.2
Applicants that are the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization make a statement on ownership.

Criterion 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.

Criterion 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.

Criterion 4.5
The applicant provides easy means on its website and/or via social media for users to communicate with the editorial team.

Section 11: A commitment to Standards and Transparency of Methodology

Criterion 5.1
The applicant publishes on its website a statement about the methodology it uses to select, research, write and publish its fact checks.

Criterion 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.

Criterion 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.

Criterion 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.

Criterion 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.

Criterion 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.

Section 12: A commitment to an Open & Honest Corrections Policy

Criterion 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.

Criterion 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.

Criterion 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.

Criterion 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.

Criterion 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.