Observador - Fact Check

Organization: Observador - Fact Check
Applicant: Miguel Pinheiro
Assessor: Sergio Lüdtke

Background

Observador is a digital-only news channel founded in 2014 and headquartered in Lisbon, Portugal. The website publishes its content in Portuguese. It is an independent organization and is not associated with any traditional media group in the country. The organization lists both the names of its shareholders and the approximately 70 professionals who work in content production. The website has been producing fact-checkings for a long time and has a section dedicated to checking. All journalists on the website can create reports for the session.

Observer also has a radio station and produces podcasts.

Assessment Conclusion

The Fact Check section of the Observador news website mainly publishes checks on content shared on social networks. The articles accessed in this review are convincing and seek to provide information to understand the context of the facts. Although all journalists in the newsroom can produce reports for the session, there are no differences in standards in the published checks.

This assessment considers that Observador complies with all the conditions required to be a signatory and strictly follows the IFCN Code of Principles.

As a suggestion for improvement, we recommend that the applicant encourage its journalists to provide more links and seek more primary sources to evidence their conclusions. It is also very recommended that the media provide more information about the motivations for opening investigations, such as engagement numbers, and avoid linking or displaying misleading or deliberately false content without a graphic intervention that minimizes the impact of the misinformation contained therein. 

on 23-Nov-2021 (5 months ago)

Sergio Lüdtke assesses application as Compliant

A short summary in native publishing language

A sessão Fact Check do website de notícias Observador publica preponderantemente checagens de conteúdos compartilhados nas redes sociais. As reportagens acessadas nesta avaliação são convincentes e procuram trazer informações para que os leitores possam entender os contextos dos fatos. Embora todos os jornalistas da redação possam produzir reportagens para a sessão, não se percebe diferenças de padrões nas checagens publicadas.

Esta avaliação considera que a seção de checagem do site Observador cumpre com todos os requisitos para ser signatária e segue rigorosamente o Código de Princípios da IFCN.

Recomendamos também que o veículo incentive mais seus jornalistas a fornecerem mais links e buscarem mais fontes primárias para evidenciar suas conclusões. Também é recomendável que o veículo forneça mais informações sobre as motivações para abertura de investigações, como números de engajamento, e evite dar link ou exibir conteúdos enganosos ou deliberadamente falsos sem uma intervenção gráfica que minimize o impacto da desinformação neles contida.

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.

Observador - Fact Check
04-Jun-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

In our “Terms and Conditions” page we have information about our official registration, with the legal number “510 914 713”: https://observador.pt/termos-e-condicoes/

Observador's official registration can be consulted on the Portuguese media regulatory entity's (Entidade Reguladora para a Comunicação Social — ERC) website: https://www.erc.pt/pt/listagem-registos-na-erc

The list of Portuguese media outlets registered in ERC can be verified here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZARbjGMx0yFL9L2e8FJAM-omEDlvleqzCExx49ZD_KE/edit#gid=1593084030

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago)

The documentation provided proves that Observador is a legally constituted journalistic company. The organization also publishes company registration information on its website.


done_all 1.1 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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?

Observador - Fact Check
04-Jun-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

1. Observador was the first Portuguese media outlet to publish, in a regular and sustainable way, Fact Checks. That happened one year after Observador was launched. We've started publishing this articles in 2015 when we considered there was an editorial need for this content.

2. In practical terms, all journalists in Observador (website and radio) may contribute to our fact checks at some point. We have around 40 elements in the newsroom (between editors and journalists) and the majority of them regularly writes fact checks. There is also a Fact Check coordinator who is responsible for editing the articles, but every editor in Observador can be called at any time to discuss an article.

3. Observador is a news outlet focused on publishing editorial content.

4. We have a consolidated fact-checking operation. On top of aiming to maintain the current level of productivity, we would like to diverse the type of contents available to our readers. We are evaluating on the best format in order to add video fact checks to our texts and audio contents over the next year.

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The applicant is a media company that has a fact-checking section. This section has its coordination, but all journalists in the newsroom can publish checks, as stated in the application. Several professionals signed the various fact-checks accessed in this assessment.


done_all 1.2 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Observador - Fact Check
04-Jun-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Each month, we publish an average of 50 to 70 fact checks, most of them written articles (a small percentage of them exclusively in audio format — a product that comes from our daily Fact Checks feature in Radio Observador).

All of this content is available to be read/heard in our Fact Check section, here: https://observador.pt/seccao/observador/fact-check/

As a mere example, in may, we've published 90 pieces of content, between written and audio fact checks. This content was published, as always, throughout the month.

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The applicant produces many fact-checking reports, published in text and audio, far surpassing the average weekly amount required by this application.


done_all 1.3 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Observador - Fact Check
04-Jun-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

All our fact checks are published here: https://observador.pt/seccao/observador/fact-check/

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The fact-checks of Observador cover a wide range of subjects, from politics to entertainment, with a preponderance of checks on suspicious content related to the pandemic. As a rule, these contents could cause some damage to people's knowledge or well-being. Therefore, this assessment considers that the applicant publishes clarification work that is useful and necessary for society.


done_all 1.4 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Observador - Fact Check
04-Jun-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 10 months ago

In our site, we have a list of all our shareholders (under the title “Estrutura Acionista”). They are presented according to the amount of shares they hold: http://observador.pt/ficha-tecnica/. 

We've also published an article with all the answers readers might have about the project, including funding and organization: http://observador.pt/explicadores/tudo-o-que-precisa-de-saber-sobre-o-observador/

Observador is totally independent from political entities: that applies to the editorial field as well as to our funding principles. This means we do not have any relationship with political parties, politicians or to the state.

In our website, we have a link to our editorial principles (http://observador.pt/estatuto-editorial/) where we make clear that “Observador is an online daily, independent and free” and that “Observador seeks the truth and is only binded by facts. We will never be pressured by political party or economical or group interests. We are accountable only to our readers”.

Our non-partisanship policy is explained here https://observador.pt/especiais/como-vao-ser-os-novos-fact-checks-do-observador/ (question number 10). 

There is also a complete article explaining all there is to know about Observador. There, we answer to the question "Who pays [or finances] Observador?" (https://observador.pt/explicadores/tudo-o-que-precisa-de-saber-sobre-o-observador/). In clear terms we say: "Publicity." But we also name those we do not count on to fund ourselves: all of "those who look at Journalism not as an independent entity providing public service but, instead, as an activity interested in other games of power and money."

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The information and links provided by the applicant make it clear what its financing method is, how the organization is structured, and indicate that there is no type of control by government, parties, or politicians. However, one of the links provided ( https://observador.pt/especiais/como-vao-ser-os-novos-fact-checks-do-observador/) is only available to subscribers (as seen in the file attached to this item). This assessment recommends removing that obstacle and giving more prominence to the page.

Files Attached
Observador.png (521 KB)
done_all 1.5 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Observador - Fact Check
04-Jun-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 10 months ago

Non applicable (we do not receive funding from local or foreign states or political sources)

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The organization guarantees that it does not receive funding from any local or foreign state or political sources.


done_all 1.6 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Observador - Fact Check
04-Jun-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 10 months ago

As we always did, in our fact checks, we cover the complete political spectrum: the President, the prime-minister, a wide variety of ministers, the parties that support the government, and the opposition parties. Each political actor has already had, of course, positive and negative conclusions. 

We have also being paying close attention debunking fake news spreading throughout social media. And, over the last one and a half years, the pandemics — and all the missinformation around it — has occupied a fair amount of our time and efforts.

We also have a wide range of conclusions, so as not to have black-or-white decisions: “Right”, “Almost Right”, “Far-Fetched”, “Inconclusive”, “Misleading” and “Wrong”.

Next, we provide ten examples of what we've just stated.

1) The prime-minister was "Wrong", in this example:

https://observador.pt/factchecks/fact-check-psd-apresentou-senhora-do-chega-como-candidata-a-camara-da-amadora-como-diz-antonio-costa/

2) The prime-minister was "Right", in this case:

https://observador.pt/factchecks/fact-check-novo-apoio-social-do-governo-abrange-mais-do-dobro-das-pessoas-que-a-proposta-inicial-do-be/

3) And, finally, we classified the prime-minister as having been "Misleading", here:

https://observador.pt/factchecks/fact-check-orcamento-do-sns-vai-mesmo-aumentar-805-milhoes-de-euros-em-2021-como-disse-o-primeiro-ministro/

4) Multiple fact checks that came out of the coverage of a political party congress (in this case, PAN). We've had classifications that went from "Right" (2) to "Misleading" (2) and "Wrong" (1):

https://observador.pt/especiais/a-estocada-nas-touradas-o-preco-da-corrupcao-e-o-dossier-novo-banco-fact-check-ao-congresso-do-pan/

5) Another example of a political party congress (Chega) we've covered. Classifications went from Right (2) to "Almost Right" (1) and Wrong (4):

https://observador.pt/especiais/pensoes-conta-bancaria-do-primeiro-ministro-militantes-e-debates-quinzenais-fact-check-ao-discurso-de-abertura-do-congresso-do-chega/

6) We've classified one statement from the Portuguese President as "Wrong":

https://observador.pt/factchecks/fact-check-marcelo-foi-o-unico-presidente-a-participar-num-debate-com-todos-os-candidatos-a-belem/

7) We've also classified the Portuguese President as being "Right" during the last presidential campaign:

https://observador.pt/factchecks/fact-check-maior-numero-de-vetos-de-marcelo-foi-em-2019-e-nao-em-2020/

Apart from Politics, we cover a wide range of subjects with our fact checks. 

8) An example of a fact check on the Pandemic (namely, on the alleged constraints people are subjected to if they are vaccinated with the Pfizer jab, classified as "Misleading"):

https://observador.pt/factchecks/fact-check-vacina-da-pfizer-obriga-a-um-mes-de-abstinencia-sexual/

9) On a social media post, the subtitles of a public speech from the Chinese President were edited in order to transmit a false message. We've classified it as being "Wrong":

https://observador.pt/factchecks/fact-check-presidente-chines-ameacou-com-o-inicio-de-uma-nova-guerra-mundial/

10) Several posts on social media attributed a certain sentence to Albert Einstein. Our classification: "Wrong":

https://observador.pt/factchecks/fact-check-einstein-disse-que-jovens-revolucionarios-socialistas-sao-vagabundos-sustentados-pelo-pai-capitalista/

Each and every one of our fact checks is selected because they either (I) raise doubts on the accuracy of the claim produced or (II) are clearly not in accordance to what is considered to be factual. Considering the first three examples given above, we've confronted the prime-minister's claims (1) with the political background of the candidate from an opponent party, (2) the official documents on the impact of social benefits provided by the Government, crossing it with what was the opponent party's proposal and (3) the official budget presented by the Portuguese government in order to evaluate if the claim was plausible.

This process is applied to each fact check we work on, something we underlined in the article "What are the new Observador Fact Checks like?" (https://observador.pt/especiais/como-vao-ser-os-novos-fact-checks-do-observador/). Namely when we make it clear that we follow the IFCN code of principles, amongst which we find the principle of non-alignment, under which we commit ourselves to verify every statement using the same pattern and not concentrating our verifications in one side or the other.

Then, as shown above, when evaluating each claim, we confront it with the experts and official documentation and data available, in order to assess its accuracy. Always following the same process in order to guarantee our objectivity and independence.

We also make it clear that, when verifying a claim, we do not start that process with a pre-determined result in mind.

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The analysis of the links provided and other verification reports evaluated on this assessment unequivocally demonstrate that the selection criteria consider the suspicion of the statements. It happens without there found any evidence of favoring governments, parties, or politicians. The applicant also makes it clear when it produces fact-checking as part of Facebook's third-party program.

Published reports follow similar narrative structures and are concerned with contextualizing the information. The accessed fact-checks also explain why the investigated content received the given classification.

Two of the ten reports shared by the applicant were accessible only to subscribers.


done_all 2.1 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Observador - Fact Check
04-Jun-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 10 months ago

In the article "Como são os novos Fact Checks do Observador" ("What are the new Observador Fact Checks like?"), we explain our policy for choosing and classifying claims. Namely, in the question "O Observador só faz Fact Checks quando acha que alguém está a fazer declarações erradas?" ("Observador only Fact Checks claims that are considered to be wrong"), we explain that we "decide to Fact Check claims that raise doubts in the public space" and we add that we "don't start any investigation with a closed mind set on what the conclusions [and classifications] will be". That article can be consulted here: https://observador.pt/especiais/como-vao-ser-os-novos-fact-checks-do-observador/

Apart from that, and addressing the point on how can readers propose us fact checks, we have an email available exclusively for our fact checking project, that can be used to send corrections or suggestions of future Fact Checks (factcheck@observador.pt). We have also publicized it in our article announcing our new fact checking formats: http://observador.pt/especiais/como-vao-ser-os-novos-fact-checks-do-observador/

And, at the end of each Fact Check, we have, near the “Share” and “Comments” area, the emails to which readers can send corrections or suggestions (view, for example, here: https://observador.pt/factchecks/fact-check-proposta-de-os-pre-reformados-trabalharem-em-part-time-e-do-cds/

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

There were no signs of favoring any side or undue concentration of fact-checking on any side of the political spectrum.

Observer states on a page of its website that it decides to open a fact check "whenever someone makes a statement that raises questions in public space."


done_all 2.2 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The assessment found no evidence of relevant interests from the sources that required a disclaimer from the applicant. Nor does it from any commercial or other relationships that might influence the conclusions of the fact-checking.


done_all 2.3 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

No evidence of advocacy or favoring any government, party, or politician was found on the fact-checks evaluated. On the contrary, Observador fact-checking reports are careful with the contextualization and accuracy of the facts.


done_all 2.4 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Observador - Fact Check
04-Jun-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

As mentioned, Observador has a non-partisanship policy, which is explained here: https://observador.pt/especiais/como-vao-ser-os-novos-fact-checks-do-observador/ (question number 10). 

There, we make it clear that, according to the Portuguese legislation, the organization cannot prevent journalists from exercising their political participation rights. However, in accordance to its non-partisanship policy, and for the sake of transparency and independence, the company complies to make sure that none of its journalists incurs in any kind of incompatibility in this area.

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Observador declares that it follows the IFCN code of principles and the Portuguese Constitution and Press Law terms. The applicant claims that it cannot, by law, prevent journalists from exercising their rights to political participation. However, it makes sure that none of its journalists incur any incompatibility in this area.


done_all 2.5 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The applicant provides links so that users can themselves validate the consulted sources. However, we found some information used by the Observador that referred to secondary sources, news sites, or other fact-checking organizations, and a few others that did not contain links to the originals. As the entire newsroom feeds the checking session, it is probably necessary that some patterns need reassertion.

Fact-checkings consulted by this assessment didn't detect cases in which the disclosure of a source could risk its safety.


done_all 3.1 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The applicant uses reliable primary and secondary sources but does not explain why it eventually uses secondary sources.


done_all 3.2 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Observador - Fact Check
04-Jun-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago


Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The fact-checks accessed in this assessment are conclusive and convincing. The verification duly treated suspicious information, facts, and data present in the investigated contents.


done_all 3.3 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

In the fact-checks accessed by this assessment, I did not find any case in which relevant interests were identified from the consulted sources. This absence, however, does not spoil the accuracy of any of these fact-checks.


done_all 3.4 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Observador - Fact Check
04-Jun-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Our Fact Check section is integrated in the Observador's newsroom.

In the article where we provide information about our fact checks, we describe how Observador's activity in this section is integrated in our broader editorial work: https://observador.pt/especiais/como-vao-ser-os-novos-fact-checks-do-observador/

Observador - Fact Check
15-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Our Fact Check section is integrated in the Observador's newsroom.

In the article where we provide information about our fact checks, we describe how Observador's activity in this section is integrated in our broader editorial work: https://observador.pt/especiais/como-vao-ser-os-novos-fact-checks-do-observador/

The article in question is now open and it is available for all readers to consult it, whether they're Observador's subscribers or not.

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The applicant is a news website with a fact-checking section and is already a subscriber to the IFCN code of principles. Although the page, which the link was provided in the application, gives information on how the section was structured, it was published in February 2017 and is accessible only to subscribers. It is essential, due to transparency, that this content is available to all readers.

Files Attached
Observador.png (976 KB)
cancel 4.1 marked as Request change by Sergio Lüdtke.
Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
18-Nov-2021 (6 months ago)

The applicant is a news website with a fact-checking section and is already a subscriber to the IFCN code of principles. Although the page, which the link was provided in the application, gives information on how the section was structured, it was published in February 2017 and is accessible only to subscribers. It is essential, due to transparency, that this content is available to all readers.


done_all 4.1 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Observador - Fact Check
04-Jun-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago
From day one, Observador has always been completely transparent about who its shareholders are. The information regarding that specific topic is available here: https://observador.pt/explicadores/tudo-o-que-precisa-de-saber-sobre-o-observador/, under the topic "Estrutura Acionista". We name each of our shareholders and provide up to date information on who they are and the amount of shares they hold. More information available here: https://observador.pt/ficha-tecnica/

Questions related to the project, including on funding and organization, can be clarified through the first link.

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The applicant presents on the two pages provided for this item the list of shareholders and declares its commitment to the independence of its journalistic coverage.


done_all 4.2 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Observador - Fact Check
04-Jun-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

All the information on the editorial structure (and the several levels of editorial managing responsibilities) is available here: https://observador.pt/ficha-tecnica/

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

On the Ficha Técnica page of its website, Observador displays the organization's structure and lists its teams and their respective positions in the management, editorial, and other support areas.


done_all 4.3 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Observador - Fact Check
04-Jun-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

We have a page with all the journalists of Observador. All of them can, at any time, write a fact check: http://observador.pt/autores/

We encourage our journalists to present their biographies in their personal pages. Examples can be seen here https://observador.pt/perfil/rtavares, also here https://observador.pt/perfil/asuspiro/ and here https://observador.pt/perfil/dpereira/.


Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

On the Autores page of its website, Observador introduces its editorial staff. The page displays a photo, name, title, and the working area of each journalist. By clicking on the journalist's name, the reader goes to a page with bio, email, and produced articles.


done_all 4.4 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Observador - Fact Check
04-Jun-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

At the end of every fact check, we ask our readers to get in touch with our journalists. Those emails can be used for the purpose of proposing corrections or sending information on potential new fact checks to our journalist, but it can be — and it actually is — used to pass along tips on new investigations, additional information on a certain subject and so on. Example here: https://observador.pt/factchecks/fact-check-estados-unidos-impedem-vacinados-contra-a-covid-19-de-darem-sangue/

Plus, in the article "What are the new Observador Fact Check like?" we reinforce that request, directing them to the email created for that purpose (factcheck@observador.pt). Here: https://observador.pt/especiais/como-vao-ser-os-novos-fact-checks-do-observador/

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago
There are several points of contact available on the website's pages. At the end of fact-checking reports, there is also a text encouraging reader participation ("Propose a correction, suggest a clue") followed by the journalist's email who wrote the report.

done_all 4.5 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Observador - Fact Check
04-Jun-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

We provide that type of information in two different articles.

One is the translation of the International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers’ code of principles (http://observador.pt/2017/02/08/codigo-de-principios-para-fact-checks/), which we have adopted. 

The other is an article about the general principles and methodology we follow in our fact checks: http://observador.pt/especiais/como-vao-ser-os-novos-fact-checks-do-observador/

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Observador publishes a statement on a page of its website describing its methodology, its scope of fact-checking, and its commitment to the IFCN code of principles. The code was translated into Portuguese. This page, however, is accessible only to subscribers, as mentioned earlier in this assessment.


done_all 5.1 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

In the fact-checkings accessed, Observador informs readers of the origin of the suspect content and why it is being investigated. In most of these checks, the reasons given are generic, mentioning misinformation's spreadable or possible contamination of the public debate. The applicant does not inform data on the scope of the content it investigates.


done_all 5.2 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The fact-checks observed follow the methodology expressed in the applicant's statements and are following the IFCN code of principles. The conclusions of the fact-checkings were convincing.


done_all 5.3 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Although some fact-checks use publications from other media as evidence to its conclusion, the assessment identified no differences in the standards applied to the equivalent claims. 


done_all 5.4 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Observador checks claims published on social media and never mentions attempts to listen to those who disseminated the investigated content in its reports. When the investigation falls on some statement by a politician or public person, usually, that statement was published by a third party. And, in these cases, the applicant seeks evidence that refutes or proves the investigated content from distinct sources, often in the media and historical records.


done_all 5.5 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Observador - Fact Check
04-Jun-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

As mentioned before, at the end of every fact check that we publish, there is a reference aimed at our readers, encouraging them to send us proposals of possible fact checks. Example attached and here: https://observador.pt/factchecks/fact-check-foi-instalado-um-pilarete-sem-sentido-junto-a-um-predio-na-avenida-da-liberdade/

In the article mentioned earlier, where we detail more on our fact checks, we make it clear that it is our goal to constantly scrutinize all the different levels os power — political, judicial, financial.

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Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Observador publishes an invitation to its readers to propose corrections or send suggestions at the end of each fact-check. And it adds the email of the journalist who checked it to the text.

On a page describing its methodology, the applicant also declares that it provides readers with all the data they have accessed and, whenever possible, provides links so that readers can access the sources of information and confirm the conclusions of the check.


done_all 5.6 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Observador - Fact Check
04-Jun-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

There is an article published on Observador's website (“Como são os novos Fact Checks do Observador?”) that explains, amongst other topics, that we have an open, transparent and honest corrections policy: http://observador.pt/especiais/como-vao-ser-os-novos-fact-checks-do-observador/.

We address this issue specifically, in the question “O Observador acha que os Fact Checks são infalíveis?” (“Does Observador think its Fact Checks are infallible?”).

Here, we explain that, when there are any mistakes, we will correct the article and explicitly refer what corrections were made. We also provide the email any reader can use for corrections at the end of each article. We actively ask our readers to provide us with more information on the claims we debunk, if and when they detect a mistake.

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Observador has a link at the bottom of the page to its error correction policy. It is a very detailed and valid policy for the entire website. There is more specific information about correcting checking errors and an email for reporting errors on the page describing its fact-checking methodology. This page, however, as already mentioned in this assessment, is accessible only to subscribers.


done_all 6.1 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The policy is very clear, and the applicant undertakes to correct the information, publicize the correction, and assess the causes to avoid repetition of errors in the future.


done_all 6.2 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Observador - Fact Check
04-Jun-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago
1. In a fact check where we verified the loan of buses from a town hall to a union's (CGTP) protest, we've initially classified as "False" the claim that the loan was related to a recent event. Later, we were alerted to the fact that it was, indeed, a recent event (our initial sources provided us with the wrong information). We, then, corrected the text and the classification to "True". We've corrected the article and the changes were mentioned at the end of the fact check: https://observador.pt/factchecks/imagem-mostra-autocarros-cedidos-pela-camara-do-seixal-a-cgtp-para-manifestacao/


2. In a fact check on the privatization of the company Grounforce (which provide services to the Portuguese flying company TAP), we began by classifying it as "Streched". Later, we were provided with more detailed information on the context (and implications) of that process and we've added those data to the original text, changing the classification to "Almost Right". This update was clarified in the article, apart from the main text: https://observador.pt/factchecks/governo-psd-cds-decidiu-pagar-a-alfredo-casimiro-para-comprar-a-groundforce/

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

In the links provided by the applicant, the use of the error policy can be seen. Corrections are well visible in the text.

It was impossible to know if the applicant gave publicity to the correction to reach those who accessed the original publication.


done_all 6.3 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Observador - Fact Check
04-Jun-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 10 months ago

We let our readers know that we follow the IFCN code of principles in this article: https://observador.pt/especiais/como-vao-ser-os-novos-fact-checks-do-observador/

Namely, in the question "Observador's Fact Checks follow any Code of Conduct", where we also explain that, if we are considered to have violated that code, readers can report it directly to the IFCN (we also provide the correspondent link to that effect).

Observador - Fact Check
15-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

We let our readers know that we follow the IFCN code of principles in this article: https://observador.pt/especiais/como-vao-ser-os-novos-fact-checks-do-observador/

Namely, in the question "Observador's Fact Checks follow any Code of Conduct", where we also explain that, if readers consider that Observador has violated that code, readers can report it directly to the IFCN. 

Also in that ninth question of the Q&A article — where Observador declares itself an IFCN signatory —, we specifically mention that "anytime they consider that the IFCN's Code of Principles may have been broken, our readers may report that information directly to the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, through the form available at the institution's website", and we link the text to this form: https://www.ifcncodeofprinciples.poynter.org/complaints-policy

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Observador published a page 4 years ago declaring compliance with the IFCN code of principles and presenting it translated into Portuguese. It also includes the IFCN badge on all fact-checking pages. There is, however, no allusion to the possibility of readers forwarding any complaint to the IFCN that the applicant may be violating the code, nor a link to do so.


cancel 6.4 marked as Request change by Sergio Lüdtke.
Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
18-Nov-2021 (6 months ago)

Observador published a page 4 years ago declaring compliance with the IFCN code of principles and presenting it translated into Portuguese. It also includes the IFCN badge on all fact-checking pages. There is, however, no allusion to the possibility of readers forwarding any complaint to the IFCN that the applicant may be violating the code, nor a link to do so.


done_all 6.4 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.

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.

Observador - Fact Check
04-Jun-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 10 months ago

Observador's correction policy can be consulted here: https://observador.pt/politica-de-correcoes/

In this case — https://observador.pt/2021/01/10/documento-do-conselho-europeu-contraria-costa-erros-sobre-jose-guerra-fundamentaram-nomeacao/ —, we indicate that we've made two corrections to the original article: 

1) the data on the document revealed by the public Portuguese broadcaster RTP;

2) the errors underlined by on the document sent to the European Council that led to the selection on José Guerra for the Portuguese seat on the European Public Prosecutor's Office

In this case — https://observador.pt/especiais/prr-governo-quer-dar-primazia-a-banca-sobre-familias-quando-vendedor-de-casa-vai-para-insolvencia/ —, we've update the article with informations sent by the Government and with the experts reactions

Sergio Lüdtke Assessor
07-Nov-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

"Fact Check" is the name of the Observador checking session. The web news channel has a clear and detailed error correction policy, accessible from every page of the website. Observador provided two links as proof of application of its error policy. In one of them, it is clear the reason and the time the website corrected. It was not possible to evaluate the other case because it is content accessible only to subscribers.


done_all 6.5 marked as Compliant by Sergio Lüdtke.