FactCheck.lk

Organization: FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
Applicant: Nishan De Mel
Assessor: Natalie Pang

Background

FactCheck.lk is transparent about who is operating its operations (i.e. Verite Research), and is transparent about its funding and investors. This is detailed here: http://factcheck.lk/who-we-are

Assessment Conclusion

FactCheck.lk has updated their website to clearly explain their process to make it clear that each factcheck is non-partisan and objective (criteria 2.5) - this is satisfactory. All other conclusions as per the preceding assessment stands, and it is recommended that FactCheck.lk is ready to be a signatory, subject to the Board's final approval.

on 11-May-2022 (6 months ago)

Natalie Pang assesses application as Compliant

A short summary in native publishing language

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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.

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

FactCheck.lk is an online platform run by Verité Research (VR). Details about FactCheck.lk’s operations are available at: http://factcheck.lk/who-we-are

Details about VR are available at: https://www.veriteresearch.org/about-verite/

VR is a privately owned think tank. VR's status as a private company and other details are provided on the Contact Us page: https://www.veriteresearch.org/contact_us

Files Attached
About us_FactCheck.l... (860 KB)

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?

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

1. FactCheck.lk, the first-ever national fact-checking platform in Sri Lanka, was initiated in September 2018 on Facebook. The FactCheck.lk website was launched in March 2019. FactCheck.lk was implemented with the objective of improving the space of public understanding and information in Sri Lanka and thereby helping to hold high-level decision-makers answerable for the public statements they make.

2. FactCheck.lk has a core team of eleven individuals, given at: http://factcheck.lk/our-team. In addition, FactCheck.lk has a large group of researchers who research and write fact checks on a rotational basis under the guidance of the core team and subject to the approval of the editor-in-chief.

3. FactCheck.lk was set up exclusively for the purpose of fact-checking. VR, the parent organisation of FactCheck.lk, provides research and strategic analysis for Asia in the areas of economics, politics, law, and media. More details on VR's research and outputs are available here: https://www.veriteresearch.org/our-work/

4. In the context of its objectives, FactCheck.lk's goals for the coming year include:

a. Publishing weekly fact checks on statements made by high-level decision-makers that are publicly relevant and educational.

b. Increase the public reach of the platform through mainstream and social media. Currently, FactCheck.lk’s weekly fact checks are published on the front page of Sri Lanka’s most-read English newspaper Daily Mirror. The most read Sinhala newspaper website also carries our fact-checks. In addition, popular social media sites share our fact-checks when we post them on our site. We hope to expand our reach by disseminating our findings on electronic media, where possible as well.  

Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago)

FactCheck.lk was set up exclusively for the purpose of fact checking. The organisation has clearly explained how many people work on its fact-checking work - there is a core group of 8 individuals, as well as researchers who voluntarily research and contribute fact checks as guided by the core team and editor-in-chief.


done_all 1.2 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

Fact checks published in the last year, including the most recent fact checks, can be viewed at: http://www.factcheck.lk/ or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/factchecklka/ or in the document attached.

In 2020, FactCheck.lk was the first platform in Sri Lanka to have introduced a spin-off series of fact checks such as BudgetCheck, which live fact-checked statements made during the 2021 Budget Speech in parliament. In 2021, the team also live fact-checked the 2022 Budget Speech in parliament (see http://factcheck.lk/blog/budget-check-2021 and http://factcheck.lk/blog/budget-check-2022). FactCheck.lk will continue this series and the practice of live fact-checking during the annual reading of the Budget Speech in parliament.

All fact checks are published in English, Sinhala, and Tamil. 

Files Attached
description FactCheck.lk_Fact ch... (46 KB)
Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago)

In the previous assessment, some irregularities in terms of whether or not they are published weekly have been observed. Factcheck.lk has since clarified that the dates were not actually showing the date of publication, but the dates the statements were made. The dates of publication are to be gathered from their Facebook page instead.

As such, Factcheck.lk is generally compliant but they should make all of such information clearer in the context of each factcheck - readers should not have to go to another site in order to tell when each factcheck has been published. Factcheck.lk has indicated that their website is being updated, and this is something that they will address in the new website.


done_all 1.3 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago)


Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago)

This is compliant. Most of the fact checks published are related to issues that can impact the well-being and welfare of the general public as well as organisations in Sri Lanka.


done_all 1.4 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago)

FactCheck.lk does not have any relationships to state or political individuals or parties. FactCheck.lk has also never received any funding or support from local or foreign state or political sources. FactCheck.lk’s sources of funding can be viewed by the public at: http://factcheck.lk/who-we-are

Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago)

FactCheck.lk has a number of posts on the claims made by various political parties and politicians. This demonstrates their independence and they do not seem to be guided or controlled by any political party or politician.


done_all 1.5 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

FactCheck.lk does not receive funding from local or foreign state or political sources. 

Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago)

This is compliant as the organisation has clearly explained the sources of their funding.


done_all 1.6 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

1. http://factcheck.lk/claim/community-physicians

2. http://factcheck.lk/claim/asela-gunawardana

3. http://factcheck.lk/claim/mahinda-rajapaksa-15

4. http://factcheck.lk/claim/bandula-gunawardana-6

5. http://factcheck.lk/claim/basil-rajapaksa

6. http://factcheck.lk/claim/patali-champika-ranawaka-14

7. http://factcheck.lk/claim/ruwan-wijewardene-4

8. http://factcheck.lk/claim/anura-kumara-dissanayake-7

9. http://factcheck.lk/claim/sm-marikkar

10. http://factcheck.lk/claim/ajith-nivard 

The selected fact checks are a representative sample of fact checks published during this year. They comprise checks on statements from members of most of the political parties and other high-level government officials, including officials from the health sector, in Sri Lanka with a wide distribution of verdicts. Each fact check explains how FactCheck.lk arrived at its verdict. Each check provides details of both the reasoning and all sources used to evaluate the claim.

FactCheck.lk’s process of maintaining coherent standards across its fact checks can be viewed at: http://www.factcheck.lk/our-process.

Files Attached
Our process_FactChec... (243 KB)
Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago)

The fact checks are based on claims made by a variety of sources, including politicians from different parties. FactCheck.lk has explained quite well, the sources used to check on each claim. There is also a variety of conclusions, so there does not seem to be any partisanship in the fact checks.


done_all 2.1 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

FactCheck.lk’s process of selecting claims to check can be viewed at: http://www.factcheck.lk/our-process 

Files Attached
Our process_FactChec... (243 KB)
Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago)

The processes used by FactCheck.lk to select claims to check as well as how they check claims are well-explained and clear. Based on the fact checks published in the past six months, they do appear to practise what they put forward as their processes for factchecking.


done_all 2.2 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago)

FactCheck.lk provides contextual information about the sources that it quotes, including the relevant interests. For instance, in one fact check (http://www.factcheck.lk/claim/national-freedom-front), the following reflection was written about the source used to fact check a claim "The proposed 20A tabled in parliament, among other things, specifically removes such companies from the types of entities listed under the purview of the auditor general (for a side-by-side comparison of the exact wording, see www.factcheck.lk). That means, for example, entities such as Sri Lankan Airlines, Sri Lanka Telecom, LECO, Lanka Sathosa and Litro Gas Lanka, would be specifically excluded from the constitutionally assigned audit purview of the Auditor General." Links to sources used are also provided, so that the public can also evaluate for themselves the authenticity and potential biases of the sources.


done_all 2.3 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago)

Based on the fact checks published over the past year, FactCheck.lk publishes fact checks based on claims from a variety of parties and political candidates, including the Prime Minister and President of Sri Lanka. Its conclusions on whether the claims are false, true, or partly true have been mixed - in other words, no particular party or individuals have been concluded to be consistently true or consistently false. This is good evidence of the applicant's impartiality and transparency. It does not show any particular for certain parties or individuals.


done_all 2.4 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

FactCheck.lk does not endorse any political parties or candidates, nor does it participate in any electoral campaigns of political parties or candidates. VR does not have an explicit policy of prohibiting staff from supporting a political party or candidate. VR understands that it cannot practically constrain fact-checkers from engaging in external activities such as advocacy or publicising their views on policy issues and is mindful of not unduly restricting its staff’s freedom of expression, among other rights. However, it ensures that FactCheck.lk remains non-partisan at all times, including in the selection, assessment, and dissemination of fact checks. To maintain neutrality and filter personal biases as intended with this criterion VR has an alternative process in place (see http://www.factcheck.lk/our-process). First, the authorship of a fact check is never limited to a single fact-checker. Second, in addition to a fact check being produced with the combined effort of several contributors, it goes through multiple reviews (minimum three reviews) by VR’s staff and directors. This entrenched process of triple reviews helps to ensure that the biases of any single person does not undermine the objectivity of any fact check. FactCheck.lk also encourages responses to its published fact checks and seeks to engage those who contest any fact check.

VR’s standard contracts for full-time employees (template attached), includes a CONFLICT OF INTEREST section, which prevents employees from engaging in any activity, including engaging any political parties, that undermines the interests of VR. One such interest is the maintenance of VR's position as an independent research institution. Any activity that undermines VR's independence is construed as a violation of this clause. The clause states: ‘The [employee] shall not directly or indirectly, either in his/her own name or through the agency of another person undertake or engage in any business, profession, occupation or activity (including engaging any political parties) that undermines and/or conflicts with the interests of the Company and/or the [employee]’s obligations under this Agreement.’ Part-time fact-checkers are held to the same standards.

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf Fixed Term Employeme... (167 KB)
FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
24-Mar-2022 (8 months ago) Updated: 8 months ago

FactCheck.lk does not endorse any political parties or candidates, nor does it participate in any electoral campaigns of political parties or candidates. VR does not have an explicit policy of prohibiting staff from supporting a political party or candidate. VR understands that it cannot practically constrain fact-checkers from engaging in external activities such as advocacy or publicising their views on policy issues and is mindful of not unduly restricting its staff’s freedom of expression, among other rights. However, it ensures that FactCheck.lk remains non-partisan at all times, including in the selection, assessment, and dissemination of fact checks. To maintain neutrality and filter personal biases as intended with this criterion VR has an alternative process in place. First, the authorship of a fact check is never limited to a single fact-checker. Second, in addition to a fact check being produced with the combined effort of several contributors, it goes through multiple reviews (minimum three reviews) by VR’s staff and directors. This entrenched process of triple reviews helps to ensure that the biases of any single person does not undermine the objectivity of any fact check. FactCheck.lk also encourages responses to its published fact checks and seeks to engage those who contest any fact check. Also, see http://factcheck.lk/our-process-fact-check for our statement on non-partisanship. 

VR’s standard contracts for full-time employees (template attached), includes a CONFLICT OF INTEREST section, which prevents employees from engaging in any activity, including engaging any political parties, that undermines the interests of VR. One such interest is the maintenance of VR's position as an independent research institution. Any activity that undermines VR's independence is construed as a violation of this clause. The clause states: ‘The [employee] shall not directly or indirectly, either in his/her own name or through the agency of another person undertake or engage in any business, profession, occupation or activity (including engaging any political parties) that undermines and/or conflicts with the interests of the Company and/or the [employee]’s obligations under this Agreement.’ Part-time fact-checkers are held to the same standards.

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf Fixed Term Employeme... (167 KB) Our process.PNG (197 KB)
Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago)

In the earlier round of assessment, FactCheck.lk was asked to elaborate its policy on non-partisanship for staff and how it ensures that the organisation meets this criteria. In the appeal, Verite Research has explained an alternative process in place to ensure the non-partisanship and neutrality of each factcheck. This is acceptable, but it is not explained in the link provided (i.e. http://www.factcheck.lk/our-process?q=%2Four-process) - please include them under 'Research and Writing' so that it is clear that each factcheck will be non-partisan and objective.


cancel 2.5 marked as Request change by Natalie Pang.
Natalie Pang Assessor
02-Apr-2022 (7 months ago)

In the earlier round of assessment, FactCheck.lk was asked to elaborate its policy on non-partisanship for staff and how it ensures that the organisation meets this criteria. In the appeal, Verite Research has explained an alternative process in place to ensure the non-partisanship and neutrality of each factcheck. Factcheck.lk has since updated their process to articulate how they ensure the objectivity of factchecks through multiple reviewers (i.e. http://www.factcheck.lk/our-process?q=%2Four-process).


done_all 2.5 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

FactCheck.lk’s process of selecting and providing sources can also be viewed at: http://www.factcheck.lk/our-process 

Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago)

This is compliant; the applicant identifies and provides links to all sources that are used as evidence in their fact checks, which allows any member of the public to replicate the fact check for themselves if they wish to.


done_all 3.1 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago)

FactCheck.lk’s process of selecting and providing sources can also be viewed at: http://www.factcheck.lk/our-process

Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago)

FactCheck.lk used many primary sources of evidence, including original census tables and statistics. When they are unavailable, they used secondary sources such as annual reports and financial reports and provide the links to these reports.


done_all 3.2 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago)

FactCheck.lk’s process of selecting and providing sources can also be viewed at: http://www.factcheck.lk/our-process

Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago)

There is usually more than one source used in their fact checks, except for claims that involve one only source.


done_all 3.3 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago)

FactCheck.lk’s process of selecting and providing sources can also be viewed at: http://www.factcheck.lk/our-process

Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago)

Beyond the one factcheck raised in the earlier assessment, the principle behind this criteria in accordance with IFCN request factcheckers to make it clear the sources used, and there should also be avenues for others to pose questions about the sources. This is generally compliant.


done_all 3.4 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

FactCheck.lk is an online platform run by Verité Research. Verité Research is a leading contributor of interdisciplinary research and dialogue in Sri Lanka. It is registered as a private company under the Companies Act, No. 07 of 2007 (registration number: PV 72318). See legal registration attached. Factcheck.lk was launched as part of VR’s broader mandate to provide data-driven analysis.

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf Business Registratio... (453 KB)
Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago)

FactCheck.lk clearly states the legal form of its registration as well as its funders. As it also clearly states on its website, "During the first year of the FactCheck.lk Terminal until April 30, 2019 , it was financially supported by grants from International Media Support (IMS) . Since then, Internews and IMS have continued to support it. Verité Research maintains the FactCheck Terminal during these non-financial support periods, and we again invite everyone who appreciates FactCheck to contribute."

(http://factcheck.lk/who-we-are)


done_all 4.1 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago)

Please see http://www.factcheck.lk/who-we-are for details on FactCheck.lk's parent organisation and sources of funding.

Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago)

The organization operates under Verité Research - this is clearly stated and the funding sources are also shared.


done_all 4.2 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

Please see FactCheck.lk's organisational structure at: http://factcheck.lk/our-team 

Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago)

All the personnel working on FactCheck.lk are listed and it is also clear that they work full-time on factchecks. There are clear descriptions on how editorial control is exercised and how the team works on fact checks.


done_all 4.3 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

Please see the key individuals involved in FactCheck.lk at: http://factcheck.lk/our-team 

Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago)

The professional biographies of its full-time staff have been clearly listed. Their educational as well as professional backgrounds are detailed - this is important for transparency.


done_all 4.4 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

FactCheck.lk provides multiple means for people to reach out to us. On the website, we allow anyone to submit a statement on a claim they would like us to fact check and provide a form that readers can fill in to reach the editorial team (see http://www.factcheck.lk/contact). Outside of this, people can also contact us via a generic email address, via our social media, and WhatsApp service. 

Files Attached
Correction policy Fa... (139 KB)
Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago)

The applicant provides three means for anyone to reach them. On it's website, they allow anyone to submit a statement on a claim they should fact check, and users can also submit anonymously if they like. Under their page detailing their policy on corrections to fact checks, they have provided an email for users to reach the editorial team on any other issues, including feedback if they feel that their fact checks have been unfair or inaccurate. Last but not least, there is also a form that users can fill in to reach the editorial team.


done_all 4.5 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

FactCheck.lk’s detailed methodology can be viewed at: http://www.factcheck.lk/our-process

FactCheck.lk's ratings and definitions can be viewed at: http://www.factcheck.lk/our-ratings 

Files Attached
Our ratings_FactChec... (198 KB) Our process_FactChec... (243 KB)
Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago)

FactCheck.lk has detailed its methodology in selecting claims to fact check, as well as how they go about conducting the research and writing. Part of the process of selecting claims to fact check includes reviewing submissions from the public on statements they should check.


done_all 5.1 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago)

The organization is guided by three key criteria in selecting claims to fact check: a) the scope / theme of the statement; b) The current state and orientation of the public discourse on the subject; and c) The value that can be added to FactCheck for that conversation. Based on a sample of fact checks gathered (see attached), they do appear to be aligned with the criteria they have articulated. Where applicable, they have also identified reflections to contribute to ongoing discourse on the issue. Many of these points appear as 'Notes' at the end of each fact check. See: http://www.factcheck.lk/claim/national-freedom-front-2 for an example.


done_all 5.2 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

“In their appeal, the applicant has submitted evidence to show that where possible, they have considered relevant evidence that appears to support or undermine each claim, and also showed that in some instances, it was not possible as there is only one main source of evidence. Factcheck.lk do include diverse sources of evidence across their fact-checks, and as such, it is compliant.”


done_all 5.3 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago) Updated: 8 months ago

Based on a randomised sample of fact checks, the fact checks is consistent in assessing the merits of the evidence used and applying them across multiple parties who have made claims. Claims made by the same individuals, for instance, the President of Sri Lanka, have been concluded with a variety of ratings (true, false, partly true) and within each fact check, the same standards to assess the merits of the evidence have been applied.


done_all 5.4 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago) Updated: 8 months ago

The earlier assessment found that the practice of contacting those who made the claims is not adopted by Factcheck.lk, and as stated in the earlier assessment, it may be due to the fact that many of the claims made were from politicians and public figures. The following is a response from Factcheck.lk in their appeal:

"All statements fact checked by the platform are made by politicians and/or government officials. Therefore, FactCheck.lk prefers not to contact these high-profile officials for two reasons. First, in the instance where a high-profile official is informed ahead of time that their statement may be classified as false, that official may attempt to bring undue pressure on the Daily Mirror newspaper that publishes the factcheck on its front page. This potential threat to our main publication qualifies within the exemption IV stated above. Second, our methodology includes verifying claims made by high-profile official using publicly available data. Unless there is a problem in finding the required data, or in interpreting the claim—in which cases we do have the freedom to reach out—FactCheck.lk has no need to reach out to the person in order to carry out the fact check."


These are very reasonable and legitimate justifications. Additionally, because of the public nature of these claims, I would add that it is not necessary to make such contact in order to seek supporting evidence. However, for factchecks in the future that does not involve politicians or government officials (i.e. non-public figures) it is recommended as best practice as such contact can help factcheckers to seek additional supporting evidence that have been used to make the claims, although it is not always possible with online claims.



done_all 5.5 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago)

Readers can submit claims on FactCheck.lk’s landing page: http://www.factcheck.lk/, and by tagging and messaging us on social media.

FactCheck.lk’s process for the selection of submitted statements is detailed for users here: http://www.factcheck.lk/our-process

Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago) Updated: 8 months ago

The applicant allows users to submit claims to fact check, and users can also do so anonymously. Additionally, the policies for selecting claims to fact check are also clearly spelt out.


done_all 5.6 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

FactCheck.lk’s correction’s policy can be viewed at: http://factcheck.lk/right-of-reply 

Files Attached
Correction policy Fa... (139 KB)
Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago) Updated: 8 months ago

FactCheck.lk's corrections policy are clearly detailed on its website. They are easily accessible and visible, and contains clear definitions what is covered/not covered.


done_all 6.1 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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

Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago) Updated: 8 months ago

The policy is clear in terms of the scope of its work, and how major mistakes and corrections are handled.


done_all 6.2 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

When FactCheck.lk received a comment on a fact check that indicated an error, the error was immediately addressed. If FactCheck.lk felt that no error was made, the comment was responded to with a more detailed explanation of the verdict.

If a speaker issued a request for correction, the request was published and responded to. Each response contained either a correction or a detailed explanation of why the verdict was not changed. Following are the most recent responses/corrections issued by FactCheck.lk:

 Anura Kumara Dissanayake:

Initial post: http://factcheck.lk/claim/anura-kumara-dissanayake-7

Correction request and response: https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/MP-Anura-Kumara-Dissanayake-responds-to-Factcheck/131-226201

FactCheck.lk received a clarificatory response from MP Dissanayaka stating that debt amortisation (capital repayment of loans) should be included in total government expenditure. In a reply, FactCheck.lk noted two errors made by the MP in his reply and original statement—the miscategorisation of loan amortisation as expenditure and the inaccuracy of the miscategorised calculation with regard to the budget tabled in parliament. In light of the above, the response by the MP did not provide any new information to justify updating the verdict.

 Wimal Weerawansa

Initial post: http://factcheck.lk/claim/wimal-weerawansa-4

Correction request and response: https://www.dailymirror.lk/slide-1/Industries-Minister-Wimal-Weerawansa-responds-to-FactCheck/329-194814

A correction was requested by Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa’s media secretary stating that part of the statement made by the minister had been omitted by FactCheck.lk. In a reply, FactCheck.lk pointed out multiple sources corroborating the minister’s statement checked by the team and the contradictory response sent by the minister. In the absence of any additional information, which we received to consider correcting the verdict, the verdict remained the same.

 Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Initial post: http://factcheck.lk/claim/gotabaya-rajapaksa-4 

Correction request and response: http://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/Right-of-Reply-Presidents-Media-Office-response-to-FactCheck/131-184089 

A correction was requested by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, based on an estimate provided by an academic. In response, FactCheck.lk further clarified the logic of the check and verdict, and concluded that there was, as of yet, no credible published statistics to support the claim. The verdict remained the same.

 Nimal Lanza

Initial post and response - website: http://www.factcheck.lk/claim/nimal-lanza

Initial post and response - social media: https://www.facebook.com/factchecklka/posts/456001561724704?comment_id=456034538388073¬if_id=1575633599001717¬if_t=feed_comment&ref=notif

It was revealed that the media source used for the statement had misreported the claim of then State Minister Nimal Lanza of the United People's Freedom Alliance. In response, FactCheck.lk issued a clarification and changed the verdict of the check to Void.

Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago) Updated: 8 months ago

The evidence provided by the applicant shows a good variety of how calls to correct its fact checks were handled. In only one case, the applicant has made corrections and posted public announcements about the corrections via its Facebook page. On its website, the original and the corrected version were both displayed.


done_all 6.3 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

FactCheck.lk is not an existing signatory. 

Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago) Updated: 8 months ago

This is not applicable as FactCheck.lk is not an existing signatory.


done_all 6.4 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.

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.

FactCheck.lk by Verite Research
08-Feb-2022 (9 months ago)

FactCheck.lk is not a fact-checking unit of a media company, it is the fact-checking unit of a research company.

Natalie Pang Assessor
13-Mar-2022 (8 months ago) Updated: 8 months ago

FactCheck.lk is not part of a media company but a research company. This is not applicable to them.


done_all 6.5 marked as Compliant by Natalie Pang.