South Asia Check

Organization: South Asia Check
Applicant: Mohan Mainali
Assessor: Raymond Joseph
Edits made by the organization after this assessment

IFCN Staff wrote:

The code of conduct, biographical details of the fact-checking team, brief explanation of what can be fact-checked and corrections policy were added in the About Us section http://southasiacheck.org/about/

This has made the organization fully compliant on criteria 2(b), 4(b), 5(b) and 6.


Conclusion and recommendations
on 03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago)

Raymond Joseph wrote:

South Asia Check, with a small team of journalists and researchers, manages to do a variety of fact-checks. Their site is available in both Nepali and English.

An interesting feature of their service is an “Earthquake Promise Tracker” (http://southasiacheck.org/category/earthquake-promise-check/) that keeps tabs on promises of assistance or aid made by the Nepalese government, foreign governments, NGOs, businessmen and others in the wake of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal on April 26, 2015.

Another interesting regular feature by South Asia Check is the monitoring of anonymous sources quoted in Nepalese media stories. This is an example from June 23, 2017 http://southasiacheck.org/media-watch/anonymous-sources-newspapers-june-23/

I am happy to recommend that their application to join the IFCN family be accepted but with a few minor recommendations. They are:

2 (b) The Code of Conduct/Impartiality statement that was supplied with South Asia Check’s application should be included on the “About Us” page or somewhere equally prominent on the site.

4(b) Add biographical details of South Asia Check staff (as supplied with application) on “About Us” page. Team members are already named and their email contact details supplied.

5 (b) A brief explanation of what can be fact-checked and what can’t be, needs to be added to the recommend/suggest a fact check link on the home page.

6 In its application South Asia check includes details of a corrections policy that they say is from their Code of Conduct. But this policy is not stated publicly on their website. This should be included under a “Corrections” heading on the “About Us” page or somewhere equally prominent on the site.

on 03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago)

Raymond Joseph recommended Accept with edits


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.

South Asia Check
03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago)

South Asia Check is an initiative of Stichting PANOS South Asia which has its seat in the Hague.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago)

South Asia Check is a non-profit media development organization active in South Asia. It is an initiative of the PANOS Foundation, South Asia. Panos has its headquarters in The Hague. See attached PDF (in Dutch) for the Panos Foundation’s registration. (I have a basic knowledge of Dutch and used Google translate to confirm my translation of the document’s content).

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf 1a - Panos Registrat... (5 MB)
done_all 1a marked as Fully compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

South Asia Check
03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago)
Raymond Joseph Assessor
03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago)

Latest fact checks appear on the home page (http://southasiacheck.org/). There is also a “Fact Check” tab on the top of the home page that links (http://southasiacheck.org/category/fact-check/) to a dedicated fact check page. Earlier fact-checks are archived and easy to navigate by clicking on numbered tabs at the end of latest featured fact-checks


done_all 1b marked as Fully compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago)

Links to fact checks from past three months:

http://southasiacheck.org/fact-check/dahals-claim-load-shedding-ended-unfounded/

http://southasiacheck.org/fact-check/myth-debunked-nepal-isnt-second-richest-country-water-resources/

http://southasiacheck.org/fact-check/roads-not-reached-two-district-headquarters/

http://southasiacheck.org/fact-check/oli-exaggerates-killings-congress-government/

http://southasiacheck.org/fact-check/nepali-congress-made-false-claims-election-manifesto/

http://southasiacheck.org/fact-check/kamal-thapa-misstates-migrant-worker-numbers/

http://southasiacheck.org/fact-check/icg-brussels-bloats-madhesi-numbers/

http://southasiacheck.org/fact-check/deuba-not-40th-prime-minister/

http://southasiacheck.org/fact-check/mahato-wrong-constitutional-provision-altering-provincial-borders/

http://southasiacheck.org/fact-check/kamal-thapa-exaggerates-nepali-migrant-worker-death-numbers/

Some interesting earlier fact checks

http://southasiacheck.org/fact-check/constitution-hasnt-ensured-33-percent-representation-of-women-in-all-state-organs/

http://southasiacheck.org/fact-check/pm-dahal-wrong-in-saying-nepal-has-been-supporting-indias-bid-for-permanent-unsc-seat-since-2004/

http://southasiacheck.org/fact-check/kp-oli-gets-fact-wrong-while-attacking-dahal-modi-joint-statement/

http://southasiacheck.org/fact-check/deuba-didnt-meet-the-dalai-lama-in-goa/

From South Asia Check’s application:

“We always establish the primary source of the statement or claims, for example, audio/video clip or byte or official statement or press release. While we don't have ratings for the fact checks we make sure that we give a verdict of true, false or in some cases partially true or false. We make sure that all our fact checks are based on facts and not heresy or popularly held belief.

From website: (from “About Us” and “fact-checking of statements and claims”) http://southasiacheck.org/about/

South Asia Check is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit initiative by Panos South Asia which aims to promote accuracy and accountability in public debate. We examine statements and claims made by public figures in Nepal and occasionally across South Asia and publish our findings on this site. This is not a finger-pointing exercise, but an attempt to promote transparency, truth and accountability in politics and media in the region.

Also from “About Us” on website:

"Fact-checking of statements and claims

We consider statements and/or claims from politicians, government figures (ministers, bureaucrats and diplomats), multilateral agencies and organizations that come out with research or statistics on issues of public importance. Our aim is to first determine the authenticity of such statements through the primary source and then examine the veracity of statements/claims."


done_all 2a marked as Fully compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

South Asia Check
03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Our code of conduct states that our fact checkers cannot be members of political parties and political party- affiliated bodies or professional unions. All care must be taken to avoid being seen as prejudiced, biased or carrying an agenda to defame or harm or discriminate against a person or organisation. 

Raymond Joseph Assessor
03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago)

From South Asia Check’s application: (This info needs to be included on About Us page - See recommendations)

Our code of conduct states that our fact checkers cannot be members of political parties and political party- affiliated bodies or professional unions. All care must be taken to avoid being seen as prejudiced, biased or carrying an agenda to defame or harm or discriminate against a person or organisation.


done_all 2b marked as Fully compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

South Asia Check
03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago)

Our reports including fact-check reports are accompanied by audio/video clips, photographs, tables, charts and weblinks or the reference of the documents. Our verdicts are based on publicly-available documents or evidences such as nation’s constitution, laws, government’s official gazette, government websites, national census report, reports of the central bank, government ministries and the official websites of the subjects concerned. We provide weblink of the document if available or provide full reference of the documents cited.

Here are some examples of fact-check reports:

http://southasiacheck.org/fact-check/ciaa-chief-karki-credited-for-things-he-didnt-do/

http://southasiacheck.org/fact-check/rpp-n-done-better-kathmandu-jhapa-2013-ca-election/

http://southasiacheck.org/fact-check/cbs-2014-report-wrong-figures-kailalis-tharu-population/

Raymond Joseph Assessor
03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago)

From South Asia Check’s application:

Our reports, including fact-check reports, are accompanied by audio/video clips, photographs, tables, charts and web links or the reference of the documents. Our verdicts are based on publicly-available documents or evidences such as nation’s constitution, laws, government’s official gazette, government websites, national census report, reports of the central bank, government ministries and the official websites of the subjects concerned. We provide web link of the document if available or provide full reference of the documents cited.

Here are some examples of fact-check reports with supporting links, documentation etc:

http://southasiacheck.org/fact-check/ciaa-chief-karki-credited-for-things-he-didnt-do/

http://southasiacheck.org/fact-check/rpp-n-done-better-kathmandu-jhapa-2013-ca-election/

http://southasiacheck.org/fact-check/cbs-2014-report-wrong-figures-kailalis-tharu-population/"

From “About Us” http://southasiacheck.org/about/

Fact-checking of statements and claims

We consider statements and/or claims from politicians, government figures (ministers, bureaucrats and diplomats), multilateral agencies and organizations that come out with research or statistics on issues of public importance. Our aim is to first determine the authenticity of such statements through the primary source and then examine the veracity of statements/claims.


done_all 3a marked as Fully compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

South Asia Check
03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago) Updated: 3 months ago
Raymond Joseph Assessor
03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago)

The fact that South Asia Check is a project of PANOS is disclosed on the “About Us” page http://southasiacheck.org/about/

The ownership statement reads:

South Asia Check is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit initiative by Panos South Asia which aims to promote accuracy and accountability in public debate. We examine statements and claims made by public figures in Nepal and occasionally across South Asia and publish our findings on this site. This is not a finger-pointing exercise, but an attempt to promote transparency, truth and accountability in politics and media in the region.

In addition, it states: “Panos South Asia is a non-profit media development organization active in South Asia and beyond since 1997."


done_all 4a marked as Fully compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

South Asia Check
03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago) Updated: 3 months ago
Raymond Joseph Assessor
03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago)

South Asia Check’s funders, the National Endowment for Democracy and the Open Society Foundation, are also clearly identified on the “About Us” page.


done_all 4b marked as Fully compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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

South Asia Check
03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago) Updated: 3 months ago
Raymond Joseph Assessor
03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago)

The South Asia team is clearly identified, with individual email contact addresses for each person, on the “About Us” page http://southasiacheck.org/about/#team But biographical details as supplied on the application (see below) should be included on the “About Us” page where the team’s names and contact details are already published. (See recommendation)

Mohan Mainali is the editor of South Asia Check. He has more than 20 years of journalism working in different newsrooms. He is also an accomplished documentary maker and has written several books about Nepal. He was awarded the prestigious Padmashree Literary Prize in 2015 for his latest book ‘Mantha Darayeko Jug’.

Bhrikuti Rai is a reporter at South Asia Check. She is a media studies graduate from Kathmandu University with past experience in media research and journalism. Her works have appeared in Nepali Times, Los Angeles Times, BBC and Radiolab. She is also the co-creator of Bojubajai podcast.

Sujit Mainali is currently associated with South Asia Check as a reporter. He is active in journalism since the past nine years. He also works as a lecturer in Kathmandu based Madan Bhandari Memorial College and teaches sociology to the graduate-level students. Before joining South Asia Check, he was associated with Naya Patrika, a Nepali language national daily published from Kathmandu, as a sub-editor. He has pursued Masters in Sociology from the Purbanchal University, Nepal. Having keen interest in the social and cultural issues, his articles on social, cultural and historical issues get published in leading Nepali print media periodically. He also has edited a book "Bhasan (Speech)" published in Nepali language.

Dilip Dhakal is a copy editor at South Asia Check. He is business studies graduate of Tribhuvan University. He has more than fifteen years of experience working in Nepal’s leading newsrooms. He was also the head of media monitoring analysis project of Panos South Asia between 2012 and 2015.

There is a dedicated “Contact” page with a form that readers can use to contact South Asia Check. There is also a general email address on the page, and each of the SEC team’s individual emails is supplied on the About Us page.


done_all 4c marked as Fully compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

South Asia Check
03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago) Updated: 3 months ago
Raymond Joseph Assessor
03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago)

See “About Us” page for details of methodology and how claims for fact-checking are chosen


done_all 5a marked as Fully compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

South Asia Check
03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago) Updated: 3 months ago
Raymond Joseph Assessor
03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago)

There is a large, clearly marked photo link for readers to suggest or request a fact check on the home page http://southasiacheck.org/ A form is launched by clicking on the link. (See recommendation about adding details of what can/can’t be fact-checked)


done_all 5b marked as Fully compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

South Asia Check
03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago)

We do not have a corrections policy, but it is our policy that whatever changes or corrections we make, we acknowledge it with additional remark in the end. Our code of conduct states "Accept any criticism or critique of the published peices and immediately take steps to see if any corrective measures are required. If so, those measures should be taken. If a mistake has been detected by the team or pointed out by readers, that mistake should be acknowledged and corrections made. Under no circumstances, the posted piece can be deleted."

Raymond Joseph Assessor
03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago)

In its application South Asia check refers to a corrections policy contained in their Code of Conduct, but details are not stated publicly on their website. This should be included under a “Corrections” heading on the “About Us” page or somewhere equally prominent. (See recommendations)

From South Asia Check’s application: (while they state they do not have a policy, they clearly do have one based on this statement).

We do not have a corrections policy, but it is our policy that whatever changes or corrections we make, we acknowledge it with additional remark in the end.

Our code of conduct states "Accept any criticism or critique of the published pieces and immediately take steps to see if any corrective measures are required. If so, those measures should be taken. If a mistake has been detected by the team or pointed out by readers, that mistake should be acknowledged and corrections made. Under no circumstances, the posted piece can be deleted."


done_all 6a marked as Fully compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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

South Asia Check
03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago)

In both these fact checks we had made errors in acknowleding the picture's correct location and the year it was taken which we later corrected.

http://southasiacheck.org/fact-check/photo-not-from-tikapur-incident/

http://southasiacheck.org/fact-check/deuba-didnt-meet-the-dalai-lama-in-goa/

Raymond Joseph Assessor
03-Aug-2017 (1 year ago)

done_all 6b marked as Fully compliant by Raymond Joseph.