Cotejo.Info

Organization: Cotejo.Info
Applicant: Andres Cañizalez
Assessor: Ramón Salaverría
Edits made by the organization after this assessment

IFCN Staff wrote:

We reorganize the archives of the articles in the site.

We also offer more institutional information. There are now team bios, a brief explanation about financing, etc......


Conclusion and recommendations
on 17-Dec-2019 (3 months ago)

Ramón Salaverría wrote:

Several criteria have been just partially fullfilled. Although this assessor acknowledges the special difficulties to meet all the principles of IFCN Code in a country like Venezuela, where journalists work under hard pressures, there are several aspects of Cotejo.info that could be relatively easily improved, without putting in risk the staff behind this project. We kindly invite Cotejo.info to improve their website according to the assessment detailed below. After improving these details, Cotejo.info is invited to re-submit the application, in order to get the finall acceptance.

on 17-Dec-2019 (3 months ago)

Ramón Salaverría 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.

Cotejo.Info
01-Dec-2019 (4 months ago)

We are registered as a non-profit civil association. Objective: fact-cheking journalism

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf Acta Constitutiva CO... (2 MB)
Ramón Salaverría Assessor
17-Dec-2019 (3 months ago)

Set up legally in May 2019, Cotejo.info is a Venezuelan non-profit news organization devoted mainly to fact-checking, investigative reporting and debunking of missinformation. It embraces also some additional connected activities, such as training programs for journalists. Cotejo.info is a project launched by independent journalists and media scholars. The applicant has provided document proof of its legal entity.


done_all 1a marked as Fully compliant by Ramón Salaverría.

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.

Cotejo.Info
01-Dec-2019 (4 months ago)
Ramón Salaverría Assessor
17-Dec-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Over the three months (Sept.-Nov. 2019) considered for this assessment, Cotejo.info published 16 'brief fact-checks' (cotejos breves), 3 'deep fact-cheks' (cotejado a fondo), 1 regional fact-check (cotejos regionales) and 1 'diaspora fact-check' (cotejo diáspora); that is, a total amount of 21 fact-checks over a period of 13 weeks. Athough this amount meets the requirement of an average of at least one fact-check per week over the past three months, the truth is that there have been several weeks without any fact-check published. In order to fully comply with the criterion 1b of the IFCN Code of Principles, Cotejo.info editors are invited to observe a more systematic publishing cycle. They are also invited to organize their fact-checks in a more structured and archive.


done 1b marked as Partially compliant by Ramón Salaverría.

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.

Cotejo.Info
01-Dec-2019 (4 months ago)
Ramón Salaverría Assessor
17-Dec-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Since the beginning of its fact-checking service, Cotejo.info has focused mainly on the troublesome national politics of Venezuela, without leaving aside sometimes other topics such as social issues and economics. As Venezuelan journalists work under hard pressures from the Government, which have been repeatedly denounced by international organizations such as the Inter-American Press Association, the applicant shows in its fact-checks a critical position against the autoritarian leaders of Venezuela; however, it does so by providing thoroughly backed and accountable information. Nevertheless, the fair journalism of Cotejo.info could be strengthen by checking additional statements of the opposition leaders.This has been barely done so far, which lead us to assess this criterion as partially fulfilled.


done 2a marked as Partially compliant by Ramón Salaverría.

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.

Cotejo.Info
01-Dec-2019 (4 months ago)
In our statutes we define ourselves as an association of independent journalists. We have no ties with political organizations and none of the journalists has political ties
Ramón Salaverría Assessor
17-Dec-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Cotejo.info has a clear and sound policy to avoid partisanship, expressed in a fully disclosed code of principles (Principios editoriales). Despite its critical position against the abuses of Venezuelan government, Cotejo.info has not ever supported a candidate in any election nor advocate or take partisan positions on any issues.


done_all 2b marked as Fully compliant by Ramón Salaverría.

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.

Cotejo.Info
01-Dec-2019 (4 months ago)
In Cotejo.Info we verify the public discourse. We use public speeches as raw material to apply the journalistic methodology of fact verification. All sources of contrast we use are public. We have a public set of journalistic principles and ethical values.
Ramón Salaverría Assessor
17-Dec-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Cotejo.info consistently backs the fact-checks with links to reliable sources of data. It can be highlighted that providing reliable background to news is a particularly difficult task in Venezuela, where many public issues suffer a lack of trustworthy statistics or independent sources.


done_all 3a marked as Fully compliant by Ramón Salaverría.

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.

Cotejo.Info
01-Dec-2019 (4 months ago)
Cotejo.Info works as a partner financed by Medianalisis (www.medianalisis.org). Medianalisis financing comes from the United States, but because the Venezuelan government punishes this type of financing, our decision is not to make it public for security reasons.
Ramón Salaverría Assessor
17-Dec-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

In its 'about us' page (Quiénes somos),the applicant discloses that it has been promoted by Asociación Civil Medianálisis, a non-profit association commited to media freedom in Venezuela. However, it does not disclose the origins of the fundings of both non-profit organizations. In support of their decision, applicants argue security reasons: a full disclosure of the fundings could lead to punishment from Venezuelan government. Although these circumstances are understandable, all in all, a bit more clarification would be advisable in this section.


done 4a marked as Partially compliant by Ramón Salaverría.

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.

Cotejo.Info
01-Dec-2019 (4 months ago)

In each article there is a bio of each author and his photograph. Here are two examples:

https://cotejo.info/2019/10/vzla-ejemplo-democracia/

https://cotejo.info/2019/10/tecnologia-4g-5g-vzla/


There is also information on the history of the Cotejo.Info and a public list of its work team:

https://cotejo.info/nosotros/

https://cotejo.info/nuestra-historia/

Ramón Salaverría Assessor
17-Dec-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Cotejo.info provides detailed, clear and easy-to-reach information about the authors of fact-checks in each news. In addition, a list of the funding and staff members as well as the history of the project are also provided. The information could be improved by providing a brief biography of the members, instead of a simple list of names, in the 'about us' page.


done 4b marked as Partially compliant by Ramón Salaverría.

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

Cotejo.Info
01-Dec-2019 (4 months ago)
Ramón Salaverría Assessor
17-Dec-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Users can easily contact Colombiacheck through different means, such as a contact form and different social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram). Staff members' Twitter accounts are openly disclosed. Nevertheless, several fact-cheks show anonymous authorship, under the name 'Cotejo newsroom' (Redacción Cotejo). In order to strengthen the accountability, we kindly suggest Cotejo.info's editors to refrain from this practice.


done 4c marked as Partially compliant by Ramón Salaverría.

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.

Cotejo.Info
01-Dec-2019 (4 months ago)
Ramón Salaverría Assessor
17-Dec-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Cotejo.info's fact-checking methodology is sound and reliable. It is consistently applied and clearly disclosed on its website.


done_all 5a marked as Fully compliant by Ramón Salaverría.

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.

Cotejo.Info
01-Dec-2019 (4 months ago)
Ramón Salaverría Assessor
17-Dec-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The openness of Cotejo.info to readers' claims could be improved. There is just a generic 'Contact' page (Contacto), without any specific indication about the claiming procedure and time of response. The applicant is kindly invited to improve this aspect.


done 5b marked as Partially compliant by Ramón Salaverría.

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.

Cotejo.Info
01-Dec-2019 (4 months ago)
Ramón Salaverría Assessor
17-Dec-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Cotejo.info informs readers about their correction policy (Editorial Policy point 6) However, it does not fully comply with the requirements of this criterion, as it lacks detail as regards the timeframe for the handling of the corrections requests. This aspect should be fixed in the information provided to website users.


done 6a marked as Partially compliant by Ramón Salaverría.

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

Cotejo.Info
01-Dec-2019 (4 months ago)
We have not received corrections requests. So far we have not detected problems that should be corrected after publishing the article
Ramón Salaverría Assessor
17-Dec-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

This aspect is assessed as partially compliant because this assessor has concerns about the reasons why Cotejo.info has not received any corrections requests so far. Of course, this well may be related to the accuracy of the organization in their fact checking methodology. However, according to what it has been pointed out in criterion 5b, this assessor fears that it may also be related to the lack of clarity to submit corrections by the readers. This is an additional reason to kindly request a significant improvement of this aspect to Cotejo.info. Once the weaknesses indicated in 5b is properly fixed, this criterion will be also validated as fully compliant.


done 6b marked as Partially compliant by Ramón Salaverría.

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.