La Silla Vacía

Organization: La Silla Vacía
Applicant: Juan Esteban Lewin
Assessor: Ramón Salaverría
Conclusion and recommendations
on 01-Dec-2019 (5 months ago)

Ramón Salaverría wrote:

According to the evidences, I recommend to accept the application. However, a minor edit should be made: in order to fully comply with the criterion 6b, a public page listing all the corrections should be published by the signatory on its website. Apart from that detail, La Silla Vacía complies with all the requirements of the IFCN Code of Principles.

on 01-Dec-2019 (5 months ago)

Ramón Salaverría recommended Accept


Section 1: Organization

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

Ramón Salaverría Assessor
01-Dec-2019 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Founded in 2009, La Silla Vacía is a well established native news publication of Colombia. Since 2013, it has a section espefically devoted to fact-checking: Detector de mentiras (Lie spotter). The applicant has credited its legal registration.


done_all 1a marked as Fully compliant by Ramón Salaverría.

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

La Silla Vacía
14-Nov-2019 (6 months ago)
Ramón Salaverría Assessor
01-Dec-2019 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

La Silla Vacía covers a variety of subjects or speakers in a fairly balanced way. It publishes the the fact-checks on a regular basis, on average 2-3 per day.


done_all 1b marked as Fully compliant by Ramón Salaverría.

Section 2: Nonpartisanship and Fairness

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

La Silla Vacía
14-Nov-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

1. Detector a foto falsa de una de las menores muertas en bombardeo del Ejército: https://lasillavacia.com/detector-foto-falsa-las-menores-muertas-bombardeo-del-ejercito-74485

2. Detector: Sumatoria no certificó que estudios del metro subterráneo estaban en Fase III: https://lasillavacia.com/detector-sumatoria-no-certifico-estudios-del-metro-subterraneo-estaban-fase-iii-73991

3. Detector: las fotos de Guaidó con dos ‘Rastrojos’ son ciertas: https://lasillavacia.com/detector-las-fotos-guaido-dos-rastrojos-son-ciertas-73454

4. Detector a video falso sobre Jorge Iván Ospina: https://lasillavacia.com/detector-video-falso-sobre-jorge-ivan-ospina-73268

5. Detector a falsas fotos de lluvia en incendios en el Amazonas brasileño: https://lasillavacia.com/detector-falsas-fotos-lluvia-incendios-amazonas-brasileno-73093

6. Detector a falso video en incendios de la Amazonia brasileña: https://lasillavacia.com/detector-falso-video-incendios-amazonia-brasilena-73084

7. Detector a video de hombre que ‘marca’ asistencias en el Congreso: https://lasillavacia.com/detector-video-hombre-marca-asistencias-congreso-72942

8. Detector a los logros del primer año de Duque: https://lasillavacia.com/detector-los-logros-del-primer-ano-duque-72895

9. La Torre Eiffel no se iluminó con los colores de la bandera: https://lasillavacia.com/torre-eiffel-no-se-ilumino-los-colores-bandera-72781

10. De 2017 a 2018, la deforestación se redujo un 10 por ciento y no un 17:  https://lasillavacia.com/2017-2018-deforestacion-se-redujo-10-ciento-y-no-17-72477

La Silla Vacía has run the Lie Detector (Detector de Mentiras) since 2013 to factcheck claims made by powerful figures in Colombia. It was created following advise form Chequeado, using standard coherent and consistent way of assessing the value of the claims. We created it to demystify the political discourse and make political players accountable for what they say. We fact-check all parts of the political debate, not only politicians but the judgments made by opinion leaders, media, and the opposition.

Recently we have focused our efforts on partnering with the public and audiences, specifically by asking our readers to send us WhatsApp claims, because we found that news consumers in Colombia often use the popular global messaging and communication platform as their main information source and that it has been used to misinform. We thus launched WhatsApp Detector in January 2017 as a service that factchecks viral chain messages that circulate on the platform, using the same method to create and disseminate fact checks, and after suspending the service for several months, relaunched it only a few weeks ago with a new name.

Since 2018, we are also members of the Third-Party Fact Checkers group of media that Facebook choose to inspect fake news that circulate at the social media in Colombia. Accordingly, we are checking an average of 40 news monthly.

Ramón Salaverría Assessor
01-Dec-2019 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

According to the set of ten fact-checks provided by the applicant and my own assessment of the archive in the last three months, La Silla Vacía covers a variety of topics. Most of them are focused of politics, but other topics are also covered, suc as environment, crime and violence, social issues and even a few fact-checks about celebrities. A signature feature of La Silla Vacía's fact-checking service is that it is open to readers' collaboration, who are invited to suggest and verify the news. This participatory focus contributes to the diversity of fact-checks.


done_all 2a marked as Fully compliant by Ramón Salaverría.

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

La Silla Vacía
14-Nov-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

http://lasillavacia.com/content/preguntas-frecuentes-55167 

In order to maintain the independence of La Silla Vacía we use the techniques of good journalism: we have an objective method of verifying data, we report against our prejudices, we do not make stories from a single source, we call all sides of a history, and we do research until we convince ourselves of what happened.

La Silla Vacía is not politically affiliated with any party although that doesn't mean that individual journalists do not have their political preferences. But we try to report against our prejudices and preferences to filter out those biases. We are only ideologically aligned to the Colombian Political Constitution of 1991.

We don't enter into any relationship that may restrain our freedom to report what we want. We don't accept donations or funding from national government offices or political parties. Invitations or gifts from the sources are never accepted.

Ramón Salaverría Assessor
01-Dec-2019 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

As indicated in criterion 2a, La Silla Vacía does not advocate in favor or against any political party or candidate. La Silla Vacía doesn’t accept donations or funding from national government offices or political parties; they only accept subsidies from international foundations. In addition, according to the information provided by the applicant, invitations or gifts from the sources are never accepted


done_all 2b marked as Fully compliant by Ramón Salaverría.

Section 3: Transparency of Sources

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

La Silla Vacía
14-Nov-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Our factchecks always provide at least the name of the expert, institution or organization that we used as a source. When possible, we include a link to the document that sustains the data used, and explain why said source is the best possible one.

Our policy is to use, whenever possible, public data that has not been put into question. When that is not possible, or the claim relates to an argument rather than a specific information, we look for the best renowned experts in the field and crosscheck their answers. Readers could replicate the fact check by writing directly to the team of La Silla Vacía by the contact form and the mail editor@lasillavacia.com, or simply in the comments section below every story which are constantly reviewed by the author.

Ramón Salaverría Assessor
01-Dec-2019 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Readers are encouraged to send additional background information, as well as corrections, in case they find something wrong in the fact-checks. In its fact-checks, La Silla Vacía provides regularly links to reliable sources of data, as the readers can check the truthfulness of the reports.


done_all 3a marked as Fully compliant by Ramón Salaverría.

Section 4: Transparency of Funding & Organization

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

La Silla Vacía
14-Nov-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

In 2018, our most recent fiscal year, 35 percent of our resources came from international cooperation projects with international NGOs such as Open Society (14,5%), British embassy (9,5%), Ford (4%), Ned (4%), Nrgi (1%) and Usaid (1%). The other 65 percent came from commercial projects such as "La Silla Académica" (where universities pay us to publish "translations" of their research into news products, allowing us to freely choose the professors and subjects we deem interesting); the sponsorship of our theme-based expert networks ("Silla Llena") and regional dedicated media (regional Sillas); debates in universities; talks and workshops; crowdfunding; and commercial ads. See detailed resources and expendidures in: https://lasillavacia.com/content/financiacion-63024                       

Ramón Salaverría Assessor
01-Dec-2019 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Since the last IFCN assessment to La Silla Vacía was made, this publication has substantially improved the information provided about its sources of income. Following the recommendations of that assessment, it now discloses with great detail the funding sources.


done_all 4a marked as Fully compliant by Ramón Salaverría.

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

La Silla Vacía
14-Nov-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Juan Esteban Lewin, our Managing Editor, leads the fact checking program of La Silla Vacía. https://lasillavacia.com/users/juaneslewin

Laura Sofía Matiz is our factchecker  https://lasillavacia.com/users/smatiz 

Ramón Salaverría Assessor
01-Dec-2019 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

A full list of La Silla Vacía’s journalists and staff members is available on the website. In addition, every news story and fact-check provides information about the journalists that are behind that news, including a link to their personal profile and bio.


done_all 4b marked as Fully compliant by Ramón Salaverría.

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

La Silla Vacía
14-Nov-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

We have an easy-to-access contact form (http://lasillavacia.com/contact ) , and we anre easily reachable through our social media accounts in Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Ramón Salaverría Assessor
01-Dec-2019 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

La SIlla Vacía has an easy-to-find and multi-purpose contact online form, which allows the public to send their comments or corrections. In addition, readers are encouraged to submit more information about fact-checks, through forms available at each fact-check.


done_all 4c marked as Fully compliant by Ramón Salaverría.

Section 5: Transparency of Methodology

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

La Silla Vacía
14-Nov-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

https://lasillavacia.com/content/metodologia-62965 

We have developed a specific method for our WhatsApp checks. If a WhatsApp user contacts La Silla Vacía with a piece of misleading information, we will answer, either with a fact-check or explaining why we cannot factcheck it, mainly because it can be outside the scope of our work. The hope: each user will then share the fact-check with his or her social circle. Checking WhatsApp chain messages is a way to get involved in conversations that real people are actually participating in, and to give them tools to form opinions based on facts, rather than falsehoods. 90 percent of what we’ve factchecked turns out to be untrue, which suggests that people share information on WhatsApp based on their emotions and interests, not what they know to be factual. The WhatsApp Detector relies on the same tagging system developed for La Silla Vacía’s Lie Detector: sections are labeled as “True,” “False,” “True but…,” “Debatable,” “Rushed,” “Exaggerated,”,“Misleading” or "Uncheckable." La Silla Vacía publishes 5 to 10 detectors per week in order to cover enough topics and fake news. Example: https://lasillavacia.com/detector-foto-falsa-las-menores-muertas-bombardeo-del-ejercito-74485 

Ramón Salaverría Assessor
01-Dec-2019 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Similarly to criterion 4a, since the last IFCN assessment to La Silla Vacía was performed, this publication has substantially improved the information provided about its fact-checking methodology. This was the main weakness found in the previous assessment and now it has been totally fixed. Following the recommendations of that assessment, La Silla Vacía now informs with great detail about its fact-checking methodology.


done_all 5a marked as Fully compliant by Ramón Salaverría.

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

La Silla Vacía
14-Nov-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

In factchecks that come from WhatsApp, we remind our audience that they can send us information to factcheck through said line. (https://lasillavacia.com/supuesta-cadena-policia-alertando-sobre-paro-del-jueves-falsa-74556 In Facebook users can report false content and then we verify it. La Silla Vacía also includes a form open to any user that want to submit new or additional information about a specific history. This space is called “Cuéntenos lo que sabe” and users should include their name and message (https://lasillavacia.com/video-petro-uso-mostrar-marchas-pro-evo-2014-74524).   

Ramón Salaverría Assessor
01-Dec-2019 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

La Silla Vacía has a very clear, easy-to-find and accessible online form that allows readers to send claims to fact-checks or add missing information.


done_all 5b marked as Fully compliant by Ramón Salaverría.

Section 6: Open & Honest Corrections Policy

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

La Silla Vacía
14-Nov-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

La Silla Vacía is open to review any possible mistake or inaccuracy. We hence react to any request or warning, be it formal or not, on any alleged mistake or inaccuracy. Once we learn about a request or warning, we start a process by matching the request to what we have published and to our sources for that information. If it is required, we look for additional sources of information that may help us to clear the specific point. With this additional reporting we define whether it is necessary to modify, correct, clarify or rectify our piece. If we find that it requires a minor clarification or correction, we modify the original text and add, at the end of the piece, a note by the editor in which we explain what has happened, our decision and the change, in order for our users to complete and transparent information. If we find that it requires the adjustment of an essential element of our original piece, we create a new one that rectifies, apologizes for the mistake and explains all the process, as well as the new and correct information. We also modify the original piece, including its title, stating that it has been rectified and including a hyperlink to the new and correct piece. If our conclusion is that nothing needs to be changed and there is a formal request to rectify, we include a note by the editor in which we explain what has happened, our decision and a hyperlink to the request, in order for our users to have complete and transparent information. In exceptional cases, when a debate has aroused regarding a piece by La Silla Vacía, the director has written an entry on their blog, explaining our position on the issue. See more: https://lasillavacia.com/content/reglas-de-juego-55171  

Ramón Salaverría Assessor
01-Dec-2019 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

La Silla Vacía has a very accurate and professional corrections policy, publicly disclosed on the website.


done_all 6a marked as Fully compliant by Ramón Salaverría.

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

La Silla Vacía
14-Nov-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

In August we published a fact check (https://lasillavacia.com/detector-17-narcoparamilitares-estaran-audiencia-contra-uribe-nota-actualizada-73086) regarding an article from another media which assured that drug traffickers (who are imprisoned) were going to be witnesses in a justice process against former president Alvaro Uribe. At the beginning, we rated the article as uncheckable because it was not possible to verify the information because doing it would violate the reservation of the process. Almost two weeks after our fact check was published, a journalist sent us the legal document that prooved the veracity of the article. We thus corrected the rating and included a note on the original piece explaining the situation.

In May we factchecked a WhatsApp chain message (https://lasillavacia.com/detector-mentiras-los-logros-duque-71403) that claimed that President Ivan Duque had attained 25 goals in his first year of government. In one of the 25 claims we made a miscalculation that led us to rate a phrase as false. In response to the piece a high level source contacted us and sent us the data that we had missed. We thus corrected the fact check and included a note on the original piece explaining the situation.


Ramón Salaverría Assessor
01-Dec-2019 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The Silla Vacía handles professionally any possible error or inaccuracy indicated by the readers. However, they do not have any public page that lists all the corrections made. In order to be fully compliant of this final criterion, this little weakness should be resolved for future assessments.


done 6b marked as Partially compliant by Ramón Salaverría.