Knack Factchecker works in accordance with the Code of Principles of the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), which has been translated and published on our website in the 'about' section of Knack Factchecker. (https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/alles-wat-u-moet-weten-over-de-factchecker-van-knack/article-longread-1437751.html)
As a rule, the editor in chief decides which claim is being checked, on the basis of contextualized suggestions of the author of Knack Factchecker.
In the claim selection we follow classic news selection criteria such as topicality, proximity, social relevance, interest and curiosity of the reader. We intend to present a broad variety of subjects, and steer clear from any bias as to the political affiliations of politicians discussed. In our claim selection the following conditions also apply:
• The claim we verify must actually be verifiable.
• Opinions - opinions about facts - are not verifiable, and therefore fall outside the scope of Knack Factchecker.
• The claim cannot be a prediction, because the future cannot be verified. Exceptions to this principle are claims that are based on scientific research and / or prognoses.
• We aim for a broad scope in themes (health, mobility, crime, environment, migration, taxes ...) as well as political position (government / opposition) and nature of the woman or man who makes the statement (called 'sender'). Those senders must have public resonance and influence. In a non-exhaustive list, it concerns politicians, media, scientists, top civil servants, interest groups, pressure groups, pundits, business leaders, etc.
• Sources for claim selection can be found in parliamentary debates, current affairs programs on radio, television and online, advertising, talk shows, social media, newspaper coverage, political campaign material, etc.
• The claim must be controversial. That means that some people have questions about its truthfulness. Those people can be political opponents, scientists, on topic experts, readers, or ourselves.
• The claim must be relevant. Whether it is correct or not, must make a difference in the public debate and / or in the everyday life of our readers.
• The entertainment value of a claim discussed in Knack Factchecker can be an argument when selecting claims that are less relevant for public debate.
• Do we publish Knack Factchecker on claims that are correct? Yes. We focus on news and claims that seem too strong to be true, but we do publish when they indeed turn out to be so. To tell the story 'why'.
• The claim must be verifiable and its context should be clear. Where and when it was launched on the public forum, and by whom, must be exactly known and verifiable.
• Readers can also make suggestions.
Knack Factchecker checks claims from all different political parties, but also claims from other 'senders' such as other media outlets and/or influencers/experts who make claims concerning their field of expertise.
In the following list we are happy to share ten fact checks to illustrate our scope and standard procedure (infra, criteria 3a/5a):
1. 'Monthly costs asylum seeker: 2255 euro's' (sender: Vlaams Belang, populist right political party, election propaganda; topic: migration/asylum)
2. '2 out of 3 employees feel too tired to enjoy free time' (sender: Groen, green political party, referring to reported research; topic: economy/wellbeing)
3. '56 European cities offer free public transport' (sender: PvdA, extreme left political party, election propaganda; topic: mobility, public transport)
4. 'Our number of nurses per hospital bed is at the level of Bulgaria and Greece' (sender: Maggie De Block, minister in office of Open VLD, right-wing liberal political party; topic: health care)
5. 'The plastic bag is 20,000 times more environmentally friendly than the cotton ecobag' (sender: Doorbraak, Flemish conservative opinion website; topic: environment/climate)
6. 'Cars are parked 95 percent of the time' (sender: Mikael Colville-Andersen, ceo Copenhagenize Design Company, expert who promotes bicycles; topic: mobility)
7. 'Full bush is the healthiest pubic hair style' (sender: Metro, media outlet reporting on recent research; topic: health)
8. 'Half of all job seekers live in poverty' (sender: Matthias Somers, expert at the leftist think tank Minerva; topic: poverty; author of this fact-check: Jef Van Baelen - different author, same standard procedure)
9. '70 percent of Muslim women have no job' (sender: Hicham El Mzairh, politician, SP.A, socialist party; topic: integration / religion / economy)
10. 'The slower you talk, the more confident you come across' (sender: Goedele Leyssen, health and yoga consultant; topic: psychology, personal growth/success)
Knack Factchecker appears both in the paper magazine and online. The number of words of the piece is fixed, so that the text and the illustration do not exceed one page in Knack Magazine on paper (see example attached). The fact check is not an exhaustive and complete overview of what the journalistic research has brought to the fore, but a concise and manageable article that reflects the reasoning and the most important sources that lead to the conclusion.