Dubawa - Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism

Organization: Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism
Applicant: Ebele Oputa
Assessor: Souleymane Niang
Conclusion and recommendations
on 23-Aug-2018 (2 months ago)

Souleymane Niang wrote:

Overall, Dubawa abides by the code of principles all signatories must comply with. On certain criteria, it has demonstrated an unquestionable willingness to improve its performance, especially by providing backing evidence or documents at the request of the assessor. However, one of the assessor's concern was not addressed at the assessor's satisfaction: Dubawa's parent institution, Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) does not have an explicit public corrections Policy. But Dubawa does have one. Although the explanations provided are not completely satisfactory, this is, in my opinion, it's not totally unacceptable, either. Hence the Following recommendation :

- Try and convince (or convert) PTCIJ to public corrections. This may take the form of recommendation along with a notification (either of the acceptance or the refusal of the application by IFCN.

Therefore, I warmly recommend the acceptance of Dubawa as a signatory of the code of principles.

Sincerely


Souleymane NIANG

Assessor

on 23-Aug-2018 (2 months ago)

Souleymane Niang 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.

Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism
27-Jul-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

DUBAWA is an independent fact-checking and verification project under the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ). PTCIJ has a number of projects, of which DUBAWA is one. DUBAWA has its own independent staff and funding, however, it is still domiciled in the larger organization - PTCIJ. However, if you still require a notarized document specific to DUBAWA. we could get that done.

As regards the section for electoral candidates, it was created for accessibility. We decided that each electoral candidate should have a page whereby all related claims that have been factchecked will not only appear on the frontpage, but also on the candidate's profile page. People can click on the candidate's profile and view all factchecks that concern the candidate. This is in line with our objective of DUBAWA being a repository of information.

Files Attached
CAC PTCIJ.jpg (1 MB) picture_as_pdf notary form.pdf (301 KB)
Souleymane Niang Assessor
07-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The evidence provided proves that PTCIJ is legally registred, but in as much as it's Dubawa applying for the signatory status, it may not be pertinent. Would it be a bad idea to just add the formal decision that created Dubawa within the Centre. In addition, I am wondering why there is a section dedicated to the candidates running for the elections in Ekiti and Osun States on an website exclusively dedicated to fact-checking. Could you please help me understand here?


done_all 1a marked as Fully compliant by Souleymane Niang.

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.

Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism
27-Jul-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago
Souleymane Niang Assessor
07-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Yes! Average, fact-checking reports are published on a weekly basis on Dubawa's website and social media.


done_all 1b marked as Fully compliant by Souleymane Niang.

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.

Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism
27-Jul-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago
Souleymane Niang Assessor
07-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

There no indication whatsoever that there is a political biais or commitment in the selection of the claims and the treatment of the matters. In fact, the variety of the topics clearly shows in the menu of the website: business, health, politics, mainstream, spoofs


done_all 2a marked as Fully compliant by Souleymane Niang.

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.

Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism
27-Jul-2018 (3 months ago)

The independence policy of our organization can be found at: http://dubawa.org/about-us/independence-policy/ This policy is sent to all staff and duly signed before they can become contributors to our fact checking project.

Kindly find below the DUBAWA Staff Independence Policy as found on the website -

Independence Policy( http://dubawa.org/about-us/independence-policy/)

While Dubawa acknowledges the right of every individual to contest for an elective position as well as support any candidate of their choice running for an elective position, it is our opinion that the independence of the platform may be called to question if team members are partisan. To this end, any team member who wants to contest elections or support/ sponsor a candidate in any form either by active campaigning or donating to a campaign fund; shall resign his/her position on the team. Dubawa and members of its team as well as contributors and members of the governing and editorial board shall by all means remain non-partisan.

Team members who wish to hold public offices must also as a matter of necessity resign their position in DUBAWA. Team members include all members of the governing and editorial board. As such, they may not march or rally in support of public causes or movements, sign ads taking a position on public issues, or lend their name to campaigns, benefit dinners or similar events if doing so might reasonably raise doubts about their ability or DUBAWA’s ability to function as neutral observers in covering the news. Team members must keep in mind that neighbors and other observers commonly see them as representatives of DUBAWA.

Team members may appear from time to time on radio and television programs devoted to public affairs, but they should avoid expressing views that go beyond what they would be allowed to say in the platform. DUBAWA expects team members to consider carefully the forums in which they appear and to protect the standards and impartiality of the platform as a whole.

Team members must know that perfectly proper political activity by their spouses, family or companions may nevertheless create conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflict. When such a possibility arises, the team member should advise the program officer or managing editor. Depending on circumstances, the staff member may have to recuse himself or herself from certain coverage or even move to a job unrelated to the activities in question.

A team member with any doubts about a proposed political activity should consult the program officer or managing editor. These restrictions protect the heart of our mission as journalists. Though DUBAWA will consider matters case by case, it will be exceedingly cautious before permitting an exception.

Souleymane Niang Assessor
07-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Stringent policies are put in place to prevent or, should the problem arise, address any political involvement of members of the staff. The organization clearly declares its independance from political entities or causes.


done_all 2b marked as Fully compliant by Souleymane Niang.

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.

Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism
27-Jul-2018 (3 months ago)

Usually, we hyperlink every source that was used in conducting the fact check, so that our readers can easily locate the full article for information. We also include photos of documents that we received from government institutions if they are not readily available online, taking into cognizance privacy laws.

Our organization also maintains a sourcing policy that is keenly guided by a five-layered evaluation mechanism:

• Named Sources as against unnamed sources

• Authoritative as against random sources

• Independent as against self-interested sources

• Verifiable as against assertive sources

• Multiple as against single sources

In addition, in each fact check, we let the readers know what group the source falls under and why we are using the source.

Souleymane Niang Assessor
07-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The sources of the claim and the evidence used for fact-checking are systematically linked to the report. And they all work well! 


done_all 3a marked as Fully compliant by Souleymane Niang.

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.

Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism
27-Jul-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago
Souleymane Niang Assessor
07-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Dubawa seems to have one source of funding, Mac Arthur Foundation. They proudly disclose the information in a footer on the website's homepage along with a section in another page. 


done_all 4a marked as Fully compliant by Souleymane Niang.

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.

Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism
27-Jul-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago
Souleymane Niang Assessor
07-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Members of the Advisory Board and those of the Editorial Board are comprehensively introduced, along with the contributors. There is no indication of contributors on condition of anonymity.


done_all 4b marked as Fully compliant by Souleymane Niang.

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

Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism
27-Jul-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

On the contact us page, it explicitly says that we can be emailed or contacted via our social media platform - Twitter. We can also be called via our mobile phoneline which was added to the page, after the first review.

http://dubawa.org/contact-us/

 

Souleymane Niang Assessor
07-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Granted, the public who are really motivated can find the way to submit a claim for fact-checking via the "contact-us" link on the homepage and other pages. Isn't there a more explicit and more visible way to attract more interactions? 


done_all 4c marked as Fully compliant by Souleymane Niang.

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.

Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism
27-Jul-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The methodology and processes are thoroughly explained in a drop-down menu because of the website design. It does not distract from the content or visibility of our process.

Also, DUBAWA has a two level Board - The Advisory Board and the Panel of Editors (Editorial Trust Board). The Advisory Board is responsible for overall strategy and the methodology does not require the Advisory Board to submit claims. Rather, it is the Editorial Board that meets regularly (once a month) to discuss what the DUBAWA website should focus on, latest news and trends. Claims are generally obtained through the researchers, and public, while the Editorial Board reviews the activities once a month to ensure that the claims being factchecked are in line with the goals of DUBAWA.

http://dubawa.org/about-us/our-process/

 

Souleymane Niang Assessor
07-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The methodology and processes are thoroughly explained, but in a drop-down menu. In addition, the methodology allows the Advisory Board members to submit claims for fact-checking. How do you make sure that they Don't influence the choice of the topics or find themselves in a conflict of interest (governance Board and editorial advisors at the same time). Wouldn't be more appropriate to keep the Advisory Board away of the claims selection process? What do you think?


done_all 5a marked as Fully compliant by Souleymane Niang.

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.

Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism
27-Jul-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Answer – Readers may submit suggestions for fact checking via our email address: contact@dubawa.org; or via our social media handles (Twitter - @dubawang; and facebook - @ptcij).

Our process page also explicitly describes what can or cannot be factchecked. Here's the link: https://dubawa.org/about-us/our-process/

Souleymane Niang Assessor
07-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Sure, the process is there. But I can't see a clear indication of what can be fact-checked and what cannot. Please correct me if I am wrong. Otherwise, I kindly suggest that these elements be Added.


done_all 5b marked as Fully compliant by Souleymane Niang.

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.

Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism
27-Jul-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

Our corrections policy is stated here: http://dubawa.org/about-us/our-process/. We do not think that we need to provide the corrections policy of the parent organization because the question only asks for the corrections policy of the parent organization when that of the fact checking organization is unavailable and ours is available on our website

Also, Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) does not have an organization-wide corrections policy. It is a non-governmental organization, founded in 2014, to promote investigative journalism, open data and civic technology. Hence, it coordinates a number of projects, some of which are not editorial and do not need corrections policy.

Again, as a separate project, DUBAWA has its corrections policy which is stated on the website: http://dubawa.org/about-us/our-process/.

 

Souleymane Niang Assessor
07-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The corrections Policy is clearly stated. However, no indication is provided about similar policies with the parent organization (PTCIJ)


done 6a marked as Partially compliant by Souleymane Niang.

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

Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism
27-Jul-2018 (3 months ago)

There has been no need for corrections on any fact-checked work done by DUBAWA.

Souleymane Niang Assessor
07-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

N/A


done_all 6b marked as Fully compliant by Souleymane Niang.