Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group

Organization: Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
Applicant: Jan Jagers
Assessor: Henk van Ess

Background

 Knack, a Belgian magazine from Roularta Media Group.

Assessment Conclusion

Precise, relevant, and up-to-date: Knack's fact-checkers have a clear writing style and end each article with an excellent source list, heavily based on web sources.

on 04-Dec-2020 (4 months ago)

Henk van Ess assesses application as Compliant

A short summary in native publishing language

Precies, relevant en up to date. Knack heeft een heldere schrijfstijl, gebaseerd op veelal webbronnen, goed gedocumenteerd, leesbaar en relevant. 

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
07-Oct-2020 (6 months ago)

Knack Magazine (www.knack.be) is a publication of the media company Roularta Media Group, a Belgian listed multi-media group with over 1,300 employees and a total combined turnover of 300 million euros. The media company was established back in 1954. Some twenty years later the first issue of Knack Magazine appeared, in 1971.

Details on the company and its foundation are stated in the 'about' on the website of Roularta Media Group (https://www.roularta.be/en/about-roularta/our-company).

An overview of all the media products of Roularta Media Group can be found on the 'our brands' section on the website of the company. For more details on Knack Magazine in particular: https://www.roulartamedia.be/en/brands/magazines/knack.

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant is a legally registered organization. The applicant is a legally registered organization, and details of this are on its website. They are part of Roularta.


done_all 1.1 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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?

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
07-Oct-2020 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

1. In the slipstream of media and fact-checking units abroad, Knack Magazine was the first outlet in Belgium to start a constant and regular fact-checking effort and a distinct fact-checking section to try and counterweight for (alleged) dis/misinformation the public is confronted with.

Knack Factcheck (https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factcheck/) has been a weekly section in our print and online publication for more than seven years now. The first Knack Factchecker appeared in 2012 (pdf attached).

Since May 2020 Knack is partnering with Facebook through its Third-Party Fact-Checking Program. This resulted in an expansion of our fact-checking activities, i.e. more articles, online-only, approximately an extra ten to fifteen per month.

More details on our partnership with Facebook in this news article: https://datanews.knack.be/ict/nieuws/knack-in-zee-met-facebook-voor-belgische-factchecking/article-news-1581563.html?_ga=2.241436354.1727262029.1585235634-948773422.1584621031


2. In total 7 people are – part-time – involved in the fact-checking operation of Knack Magazine: regular fact-checkers (Stefanie Van den Broeck, Brecht Castel, Karin Eeckhout), fact-check coördination team (Gerry Meeuwssen, Jan Jagers), editor-in-chief (Bert Bultinck), and administrative assistant (Jos De Vuyst). On top of our regular fact-checkers we bow on a pool of stand-in fact-checkers when needed.


3. Knack Magazine is a news outlet under the umbrella of the media company Roularta Media Group. Its different activities can be found in the annual report (2019) here (output, p. 7): https://www.roularta.be/sites/default/files/public/roularta/Roularta-op-de-beurs/files/2020-05-19/JVS19_book.pdf

The core activity of Roularta Media Group (RMG) is spreading qualitative, relevant and independent information. But as you can see RMG also runs events, like Trends Manager of the Year, and the Roularta Innovation Lab (p. 14) to research new technologies, tools and software.

As for the fact-checking unit of Knack Magazine, besides publishing fact-checks we give interviews about fact-checking and mis/disinformation when asked for, as well for news outlets as for students and other academic research, and engage in building network within as well as over national borders to try and speed up the battle against mis/disinformation.


4. In 2020 our fact-checking team and output have expanded. The main goals of our fact-checking unit for the coming year are (1) to consolidate, uplift and streamline our workflow; (2) to filter and counter false information out of Flemish/Belgian public debate as much as possible; (3) to shape our fact-checks in line with current scientific findings and recommendations as much as possible; and (4) initiating a national fact-check network, deCheckers, inspired by the Norwegian model of Faktisk.

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf 20121024_Knack-Knack... (40 KB)
Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Some of the members of the team do not exclusively contribute to the purpose of fact-checking, but do other work too...


done_all 1.2 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
07-Oct-2020 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Until May 2020 we published on average one fact check a week. Ever since our partnership with Facebook, that amount has risen to an extra ten to fifteen per month.

Our fact checks are published and archived on the separate Knack Factcheck section (https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factcheck/).

The online and freely accessible archive goes back to May 2017. 

See attached a spreadsheet with all fact checks that we published last year (Octr 2019 - September 2020).

We cover mis/disinformation that spreads in Flanders/Belgium / in Dutch language. The topics we often deal with are health (e.g. coronavirus; and broader scope: well-being), climate change, or politics and policy issues. We also react to polarizing rumors that follow news events, e.g. minority groups and politicians who allegedly do not live up to safety rules against coronavirus.

Files Attached
description IFCN Application 202... (24 KB)
Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant has published an average of at least one fact check a week over the six months before the date of application.


done_all 1.3 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Fact checks are of general interest and contain health issues, climate change, politics, and policy issues - as applicant claims. In their own words: "We scrutinize strong statements, strong figures and ditto facts in current affairs."


done_all 1.4 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
07-Oct-2020 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

We don't have financial or institutional relationships to any political party or politicians or state actors in Belgium, nor abroad.

There is no form of financial support (gifts, donations,…) from political parties or political actors in nor for the media of Roularta Media Group nor for the company itself.

No local, federal and international governments or political parties and actors participate in any direct or indirect way in Roularta Media Group or its subsidiaries.

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant's editorial output seems not to be controlled by the state, a political party, or politician.


done_all 1.5 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
07-Oct-2020 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

We have not received any funding from local or foreign state or political actors. 

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The claim that the company didn't receive local funding is debatable. In 2018, the Belgian state, the European Commission, and Bpost had to answer before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice for the covert subsidy to large media companies, including Roularta. Via distribution aid for newspapers, 200 million euros indirectly flows annually to the media companies. It seems that deal is now over; see https://www.villamedia.nl/artikel/belgische-online-media-ageren-tegen-staatssteun-kranten.

Suggestion: change "We have not received any funding from a local state or foreign state or political actors" into "We currently don't receive any funding from a regional or foreign state nor political actors."


done_all 1.6 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
07-Oct-2020 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

We selected the following fact checks to prove and illustrate our work:

(1) https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/factcheck-onze-staatsschuld-stijgt-met-507-euro-per-seconde/article-longread-1631117.html

(2) https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/factcheck-een-kind-uit-een-arm-gezin-heeft-zeven-keer-meer-kans-op-een-c-attest/article-longread-1580425.html

(3) https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/factcheck-23-procent-van-het-personeel-in-de-welzijnssector-is-van-allochtone-afkomst/article-longread-1635951.html

(4) https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/factcheck-acht-tot-tien-procent-van-onze-samenleving-is-racistisch/article-longread-1610495.html

(5) https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/factcheck-je-hebt-maar-een-absoluut-grondrecht-het-recht-op-leven/article-longread-1628517.html

As for political claims these examples (1-5) illustrate that we do not concentrate our fact-checking on any one side of the ideological spectrum. We check outliers (1: Vlaams Belang, extreme right; 2: PvdA, extreme left) as well as mainstream politics (3: Open VLD, liberal; 4: SP.A, socialist; 5: CD&V, christian-democrat;) and use the same standards and scrutiny regardless of who the claimant is.

(6) https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/factcheck-een-hamburger-kost-eigenlijk-200-euro/article-longread-1518035.html - we dig and lean on original sources for our conclusions and we employ scientific research and expert explainers as a standard.

(7) https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/factcheck-nee-deze-foto-toont-geen-razend-drukke-winkelstraat/article-longread-1599175.html - we use online tools to show that pictures and videos can be used out of context and/or be manipulated to create mis/disinformation.

(8) https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/factcheck-vis-eten-geeft-je-libido-een-boost/article-longread-1530837.html

(9) https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/factcheck-over-enkele-jaren-krijgen-we-hittegolven-die-mensen-in-zes-uur-kunnen-doden/article-longread-1600901.html

In (8) we assess a rather light-hearted claim in comparison to (9). We use the same high standards of – scientific – evidence regardless of the subject at hand.

(10) https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/factcheck-foto-van-vreemdelingen-bij-barbecue-komt-van-anonieme-twitter-account/article-longread-1597107.html - we react to rumors that can spread hate or prejudice.


Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant fact-checks using the same high standards of evidence and judgment for equivalent claims regardless of who made a claim. Sometimes it's a well-known source; sometimes, it's a knowledgeable source that is not well known but has authority anyway.


done_all 2.1 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
07-Oct-2020 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Here’s the link: https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factcheck/alles-wat-u-moet-weten-over-de-factcheck-van-knack/article-longread-1437751.html

Scroll down to subtitle “Claimselectie”. Underneath is explained how we select claims, how we ensure balance, and how we consider reach and importance of the claims we select to check.

As a rule, our fact-checkers together with the editor-in-chief decide which claim is scrutinized. We thereby follow classic news selection criteria such as topicality, proximity, social relevance, reach, interest and curiosity of the reader. We intend to present a broad variety of subjects (see criteria 2.1, example 8), and steer clear from any bias as to the political affiliations of politicians discussed. 

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant's fact-checking is not one-sided and explains their method online, including an e-mail address for complaints. We specifically like the variety of sources to debunk claims.


done_all 2.2 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The number of sources at the end of most articles is impressive. We even found a few debunks that had a list of references longer than the actual writing.


done_all 2.3 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

We didn't find a hyper-focus on single parties or single issues. Maybe some articles are leaning towards health items and current affairs, but there is nothing wrong with that.


done_all 2.4 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
07-Oct-2020 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Here’s the link: https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factcheck/alles-wat-u-moet-weten-over-de-factcheck-van-knack/article-longread-1437751.html

Scroll down to subtitle “Onafhankelijkheid”.

As stated there, Knack Factcheck is an autonomous and independent form of journalism.

'Our ambition is to present truthful facts, without the influence of any ideological agenda or bias. To ensure unbiased and neutral treatment of allegations, the journalists behind Knack Factcheck are not politically active. They participate in the political process as voters because they have that responsibility as a citizen, but they avoid public expression of any political opinion whatsoever and try to avoid any appearance of bias.

We avoid and prohibit everything that might compromise the Knack Factcheck and our ability to work independently and honestly.'

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant sets out its policy on non-partisanship for staff on its site. They also explained why they decided to work with Facebook in this article: https://datanews.knack.be/ict/nieuws/knack-in-zee-met-facebook-voor-belgische-factchecking/article-news-1581563.html


done_all 2.5 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant has some thorough debunks with plenty of sources written in a precise and straightforward style, with many hyperlinks to primary sources.


done_all 3.1 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant goes the extra mile by archiving sometimes dubious Facebook posts so readers can still find the primary source. For that, they use archive services like archive.today


done_all 3.2 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Claims, dissected with patience in a clear, logical style, are backed up with references to often web-based sources, see https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factcheck/factcheck-nee-dezelfde-persoon-had-niet-ebola-en-covid-19/article-longread-1665945.html


done_all 3.3 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The source material is intensely based on web sources. When those sources are removed by people who get criticized, applicants often take care of dead links by showing copies of the original information.


done_all 3.4 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
07-Oct-2020 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

As mentioned above (criteria 1.1 and 1.2, §1), Knack Factcheck (https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factcheck/) is the distinct section and unit of Knack Magazine.

Knack Magazine (www.knack.be) is a news outlet of the media company Roularta Media Group, a Belgian listed multi-media group with over 1,300 employees and a total combined turnover of 300 million euros.

Details on the company and its foundation are stated in the 'about' on the website of Roularta Media Group (https://www.roularta.be/en/about-roularta/our-company). 

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

There is no prominent direct link on knack.be to information about Roularta. We suggest the applicant makes Roularta logo at the bottom of each page clickable with a hyperlink to https://www.roularta.be/en/about-roularta/our-company


done_all 4.1 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
07-Oct-2020 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Details about the ownership of Roularta Media Group can be found in its most recent annual report (2019) here: https://www.roularta.be/nl/roularta-op-de-beurs/link-naar-het-jaarverslag-2019

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Ownership information is given. The fact checkers are part of Roularta.


done_all 4.2 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
07-Oct-2020 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

As made clear in the ‘about’ section (https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factcheck/alles-wat-u-moet-weten-over-de-factcheck-van-knack/article-longread-1437751.html) the editorial control of Knack Factcheck is a shared responsability exercised by fact-checkers, the fact-check coördination team and, ultimately, the editor-in-chief of Knack Magazine.

Scroll down to subtitle “De mensen achter Factcheck”’. 

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

We examined that Knack has a clear explanation. The decision tree has checks and balances.


done_all 4.3 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
07-Oct-2020 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The professional biographies of those who play a significant part in the output of Knack Factcheck can be found in the ‘about section’: https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factcheck/alles-wat-u-moet-weten-over-de-factcheck-van-knack/article-longread-1437751.html

Scroll down to subtitle “De mensen achter Factcheck”. 

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Some fact check organizations have only small or incomplete bio's online. We applaud Knack for even having bio's included who don't do fact checks anymore, but whose work is still online.


done_all 4.4 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
07-Oct-2020 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

We encourage users to communicate with us in the ‘about’ section (https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factcheck/alles-wat-u-moet-weten-over-de-factcheck-van-knack/article-longread-1437751.html)

Scroll down to subtitle “Hoe zetten we eventuele fouten recht” and “Suggesties”.

Readers are actively invited to send their suggestions, complaints, compliments, comments and questions to the editors of Knack Factcheck via e-mail. The address factchecker@knack.be is mentioned at the bottom of every fact-check and in the 'about' page of Knack Factcheck. On October 6th, 2020, we changed the address factchecker@knack.be to factcheck@knack.be for clarity reasons. However, feedback and suggestions that are sent to the former address will still arrive.   


Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The organization is reachable via a unique e-mail address and social media.


done_all 4.5 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
07-Oct-2020 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

We explain our methodology in the ‘about section’: https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/alles-wat-u-moet-weten-over-de-factchecker-van-knack/article-longread-1437751.html

We select claims based upon reach and importance (see above, criteria 2.2).

Scroll down to subtitle "Standaardprocedure". In more detail there is stated and explained that we (1) contact the claimant where possible to seek evidence; (2) use all different journalistic means and sources available to assess the claims’ truthfulness as thoroughly and transparently as possible; (3) conclude on a four-point scale (true, rather true, rather untrue, untrue); and (4) write and publish a fact-check story that reflects the research process as well as where it finally comes down to. 

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

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.

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Most claims are researched because they are in the news.

In their own words: "We scrutinize strong statements, strong figures, and ditto facts in current affairs."


done_all 5.2 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant uses a variety of sources to debunk stories, and even updates them when they find new sources, as shown in like https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factcheck/factcheck-betere-ventilatie-in-de-klas-levert-geen-1-5-punt-extra-op-voor-rekenen/article-longread-1660697.html 


done_all 5.3 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

In its fact checks, the applicant assesses the merits of the evidence, regardless of who claimed something, not only by debunking claims, but also confirm them when needed, see https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factcheck/factcheck-ja-de-voorbije-jaren-verdween-landbouwgrond-vooral-ten-voordele-van-industrie/article-longread-1657945.html


done_all 5.4 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Although it's hard to confirm this criterium because we are not part of the newsroom's decision tree, it looks like the applicant meets the demands.

We find criticism about their ability to find supporting evidence in https://doorbraak.be/knack-volhardt-in-fake-news/

and https://www.climategate.nl/2019/11/knack-volhardt-in-fake-news/comment-page-2/ , although it's unsure how professional these two sources.


done_all 5.5 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
07-Oct-2020 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

On the ‘about’ page and at the bottom of every fact-check we encourage users to send in claims to check (see above, criteria 4.5), via e-mail, with (a link to) the source where the claim was found.

(https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/alles-wat-u-moet-weten-over-de-factchecker-van-knack/article-longread-1437751.html)

In the section “Claimdetectie” on the ‘about’ page is clarified which kind of claims users can expect to be fact-checked, which not, and why so (see above, criteria 2.2).

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The applicant is specialized in current news affairs, healthcare items, and claims found on Facebook. In most articles, it's explained when the evidence couldn't be found, like https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factcheck/factcheck-er-is-geen-bewijs-dat-coronatesten-al-bestonden-voor-het-virus-werd-ontdekt/article-longread-1647869.html


done_all 5.6 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
07-Oct-2020 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

In the 'about' section of Knack Factcheck we unfold our policy to address corrections. https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/alles-wat-u-moet-weten-over-de-factchecker-van-knack/article-longread-1437751.html

Scroll down to subtitle “Hoe zetten we eventuele fouten recht”. This is the outline of our corrections and complaints policy:

Fact-checkers also make mistakes. Knack applies the principle that any errors are acknowledged equitably and corrected as quickly as possible in all due transparency.

As stated above (criteria 4.5), complaints and comments can be sent by e-mail to the editors of Knack Factcheck via factcheck@knack.be.

Messages will always be read and handled by the author of the fact-check after consulting with the editor in chief.

If the supplied argument and/or the additional information is such that the fact-check has to be revised and corrected, we immediately revise the text online. In case of major errors, this revision is mentioned explicitly, so that it is clear to readers what went wrong. If it concerns a fact-check that also appeared in the paper magazine, we publish a correction in the appropriate section in the next issue.

If the argument provided and/or the additional information is not crucial to the evaluation in the fact check, but nonetheless relevant or useful, we will provide this information as an update at the bottom of the article.

In both cases - both the crucial and the other corrections and adjustments, the message 'updated on' appears at the top of the article with the hour and the date of the update.

What the update was and why it was conducted, is stated at the bottom of the article.

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

done_all 6.1 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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

Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Although there is no specific disclaimer about that, the fact-checkers implicitly say something about that in https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factcheck/alles-wat-u-moet-weten-over-de-factcheck-van-knack/article-longread-1437751.html


done_all 6.2 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
07-Oct-2020 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

We received complaints and correction requests through the factchecker@knack.be address. We replied to all of them, and in case more information was required we asked further questions for clarification. The editorial staff examined the arguments in the complaints and correction requests. If the arguments warranted a correction, we modified our fact checks accordingly. We also indicated in the online version of the article that we had done so, why, and when.

The first example of how we have handled complaints in the previous year is a long email conversation (cf attachment 1 below) with the HR-professional Patrick Vermeren, who felt we had misconstrued his argument. As his arguments were not convincing, we did not correct the fact check. However, we did publish his reply to the fact check as an op-ed piece in our op-ed section (https://www.knack.be/nieuws/belgie/gemiddelde-man-vs-gemiddelde-vrouw-kleine-verschillen-kunnen-grote-effecten-hebben/article-opinion-1546837.html)

A second example is one in which we did find the arguments of the man who requested a correction to be convincing: https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/factcheck-ja-als-je-aan-de-voorwaarden-voldoet-krijg-je-in-de-meeste-gevallen-een-blanco-strafblad-voor-75-euro/article-normal-1601627.html We examined his arguments carefully and extensively, rectified the article and indicated that we had done so (cf attachment 2 below). 

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf attachment 2_case Da... (116 KB) picture_as_pdf attachment 1_case Pa... (171 KB)
Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

done_all 6.3 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
07-Oct-2020 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago
Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
07-Oct-2020 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The parent media corrections policy is on the website of Knack.be, behind a link near to the contact button at the bottom of this page (https://www.knack.be/nieuws/) because we believe this is the most convenient place for our public to find it. (Readers who have a complaint or request for correction will look for correction policy and contact details on the website of Knack Magazine, instead of on the overarching website of Roularta Media Group) 

Here’s the link to the correction policy: https://www.knack.be/info/corrections-policy-knack/article-service-1650645.html

Please find below an example of a correction in the print magazine: the case of Amadeo Van Haverbeke, who was incorrectly described as a member of the far-right Flemish organization Schild & Vriend. Van Haverbeke did not send us an e-mail but published his complaint on Twitter. Knack journalist Walter Pauli apologized on Twitter and we corrected the mistake in the magazine and in the online version. 

https://www.knack.be/nieuws/magazine/het-laatste-woord/article-normal-1647223.html

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf correction Vanhaverb... (207 KB)
Henk van Ess Assessor
30-Oct-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

In https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factcheck/alles-wat-u-moet-weten-over-de-factcheck-van-knack/article-longread-1437751.html only the fact check organization itself is mentioned, not Roularta, but we found several articles of different publications of Roularta that contained corrections. 


done_all 6.5 marked as Compliant by Henk van Ess.