T. V. Today Network Fact Check

Organization: T. V. Today Network Ltd.
Applicant: Bal Krishna
Assessor: Kanchan Kaur
Conclusion and recommendations
on 25-Oct-2018 (1 month ago)

Kanchan Kaur wrote:

The applicant is a fact-checking segment of a larger media house. It evaluates claims and publishes fact-checks on a regular basis, more than the average of one report a week over the last three months.

The applicant uses the same standards to assess all claims. It covers a variety of subjects and explains its non-partisanship policy satisfactorily.

Readers can replicate fact checks if they wish to, sources are mentioned and linked unambiguously. In fact, the applicant has made good use of the network of reporters and journalists it has access to through the media organisation it is a part of.

Its ownership is mentioned clearly, and an annual report submitted. All authors and key staff are clearly listed with their biographies.

The public can reach out easily to the fact-checker. Additionally, at the end of each fact-check, a number has been listed for the reader to easily submit claims for fact-checking, or comment/complain. It also invites readers to send claims to fact check.

The applicant's correction policy is clear, public and contains a time frame to correct mistakes. In the examples provided by the applicant, and indeed in others, corrections have been very clearly mentioned, right at the beginning of the story, and the sources stated.

This application may be accepted as it is fully compliant on all counts. 

on 25-Oct-2018 (1 month ago)

Kanchan Kaur 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.

T. V. Today Network Ltd.
09-Oct-2018 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

India Today Fact Check is part of TV Today Network Limited ( https://bit.ly/2QAQ12S Annual report of the Company for 2018 on the Bombay Stock Exchange). The Fact Check is a segment within the India Today website which is managed separately and independently from the editorial operations of India Today. 

With the approval from the  Board of Directors of the TV Today Network Limited ( https://bit.ly/2QDnRV5 ), a Fact Check Team within the company (letter attached), has been formed. This Team is independent of the other editorial operations of the Company and is engaged in fact checking and busting misinformation in the mainstream and social media.

The Team reports directly to the Vice Chairperson & Managing Director of the Company. The main source of revenue for the Company is advertising. Less than one percent of the revenue goes towards the Fact Check Team.

Attachments – 1). Certificate of Incorporation of the TV Today Network Ltd.

                            2). Setting up of Fact Check Team within TV Today Network Ltd. 

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf Setting up Fact Chec... (200 KB) picture_as_pdf Certificate of incor... (482 KB)
Kanchan Kaur Assessor
19-Oct-2018 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The applicant is a fact-checking segment of a larger media house. It has provided necessary documents. 


done_all 1a marked as Fully compliant by Kanchan Kaur.

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.

T. V. Today Network Ltd.
09-Oct-2018 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

Fact Check is a section in the India Today website.

  https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check


Kanchan Kaur Assessor
19-Oct-2018 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The applicant evaluates claims and publishes fact-checks on a regular basis. It has published more than the average of one report a week over the last three months.



done_all 1b marked as Fully compliant by Kanchan Kaur.

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.

T. V. Today Network Ltd.
09-Oct-2018 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

1. https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/fact-check-this-is-the-truth-behind-pm-s-claim-on-new-airports-1349931-2018-09-26

2. https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/fact-check-damage-to-martyr-s-memorial-was-accident-not-vandalism-1344165-2018-09-19

3. https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/fact-check-no-j-k-police-is-not-raising-slogans-for-azaadi-1341549-2018-09-17

4. https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/fact-check-modi-mother-hiraben-plackard-vote-for-son-1333067-2018-09-06

5. https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/fact-check-why-giriraj-singh-is-wrong-about-rahul-gandhi-s-photo-1334939-2018-09-07

6. https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/kerala-floods-sanjiv-bhatt-narendra-modi-1320555-2018-08-22

7. https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/fact-check-viral-video-spins-a-fake-story-around-boeing-737-caught-in-typhoon-1342511-2018-09-17

8. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/viral-test-who-photoshopped-ex-prez-mukherjee-in-rss-cap-1255678-2018-06-08

9. https://www.indiatoday.in/elections/karnataka-election-2018/story/narendra-modi-jawaharlal-nehru-bhagat-singh-congress-karnataka-election-1231140-2018-05-10

10. https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/viral-test-did-rss-give-british-queen-a-guard-of-honour-before-independence-1300771-2018-07-30


We pick a story for fact check without allegiance to any ideology or political position. Apart from the claims and messages being shared widely, we also consider the suggestions sent by public for selecting stories. We maintain a standard procedure of verifying claims by reaching out to the concerned persons or entities involved in the story. To verify the  facts we also reach out to the authorities at the ground level. In the process, we refrain from framing any opinion or making editorial comments in our stories. We provide the supporting evidences through hyperlinks in the stories and explain the methods used to reach the conclusion which a reader can replicate.


Kanchan Kaur Assessor
19-Oct-2018 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The applicant uses the same standards to assess all claims. It  covers a variety of subjects. The explanation of its policy is satisfactory.


done_all 2a marked as Fully compliant by Kanchan Kaur.

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.

T. V. Today Network Ltd.
09-Oct-2018 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

India Today Fact Check is part of TV Today Network Limited and conforms to the stringent non-partisanship policy of the India Today Group. The policy can be read here.

https://www.indiatoday.in/about-us-fact-check#non-partisanship-policy


Kanchan Kaur Assessor
19-Oct-2018 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The applicant has shared a clear policy on non-partisanship. It has also mentioned that employees are expected to agree to the Group's code of conduct and social media policies. 


done_all 2b marked as Fully compliant by Kanchan Kaur.

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.

T. V. Today Network Ltd.
09-Oct-2018 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

We are extremely careful about picking up sources for our stories because the credibility of one’s argument depends on the credibility of its sources. The first step is to evaluate if the source is directly related to the story that we are investigating.

We prefer to track down the sources who are eyewitnesses or author of the original audio/video clip. We also look for people who are in a position to have access to credible information. As and when needed, we tap the huge pool of our reporters on ground for cross-verification. Not relying solely of single source, we always corroborate the statements with evidences.

Primary sources: Reaching out to the concerned person is critical to fact-checking. To verify the authenticity of a statement, we directly approach concerned persons for their reaction. We also scan their verified social media accounts for public statement.

Official sources: Local authorities and police remain conventional yet an important source of information. We often share the information or claim that we are investigating with the authorities to get the official reaction on it and debunk misinformation. The documents presented and discussions recorded on the official websites of Parliament and state assemblies are a huge source of validated information that we frequently use.

Scholarly journals & newspapers: We rely on non-partisan, government agencies for expertise, analyses and reports. We also use academic books and reputed websites for authoritative information on a subject. Apart from reputed newspapers and magazines, we often refer to websites of well-known organisations and company publications to verify an information.

Transparency about sources: We clearly specify our sources in a story. We describe in reasonable detail about the process and evidences on the basis of which we arrive at a conclusion. We provide hyperlinks in most of the stories so that readers could replicate the fact check. Hyperlinks direct readers directly to the source of information and evidences which we used to reach a conclusion.

Additional layer of verification: India Today has a huge pools of reporters and stringers active on the ground. When required, we utilise this network spread across the country and abroad to cross-verify facts. Occasionally, we come across stories where the concerned persons don’t have social media presence. In that case, our on-ground reporters act as an additional layer of cross-verification.

Kanchan Kaur Assessor
19-Oct-2018 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The applicant makes it sources very clear. It also puts up relevant videos and hyperlinks. Readers can replicate the fact check if they wish to. 

The applicant has made good use of the network of reporters and journalists it has access to through the media organisation it is a part of. 


done_all 3a marked as Fully compliant by Kanchan Kaur.

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.

T. V. Today Network Ltd.
09-Oct-2018 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

The parent company, TV Today Network Ltd., is a public limited company. Annual report of 2018 can be seen here. https://www.bseindia.com/bseplus/AnnualReport/532515/5325150318.pdf

A separate account of the company in the name of 'India Today Fact Check – unit of TV Today Network Ltd' has been opened and funded for the specific purpose of fact checking. 

Kanchan Kaur Assessor
19-Oct-2018 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The applicant has submitted a link to its annual report in the application. It has made a statement on ownership in its About Us tab.


done_all 4a marked as Fully compliant by Kanchan Kaur.

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.

T. V. Today Network Ltd.
09-Oct-2018 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago
Kanchan Kaur Assessor
19-Oct-2018 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

All authors and key staff are clearly listed with their biographies. 


done_all 4b marked as Fully compliant by Kanchan Kaur.

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

T. V. Today Network Ltd.
09-Oct-2018 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago
Kanchan Kaur Assessor
19-Oct-2018 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The public can reach out easily to the fact-checker through the Contact Us page. Additionally, at the end of each fact-check, a number has been listed for the reader to easily submit claims for fact-checking, or comment/complain. 


done_all 4c marked as Fully compliant by Kanchan Kaur.

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.

T. V. Today Network Ltd.
09-Oct-2018 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago
Kanchan Kaur Assessor
19-Oct-2018 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The applicant explains its methodology clearly, in an accessible, public place. 


done_all 5a marked as Fully compliant by Kanchan Kaur.

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.

T. V. Today Network Ltd.
09-Oct-2018 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

There are multiple ways through which the readers can submit claims to fact-check and provide us feedback about our stories. In every story, just below the headline, there is a feedback icon in yellow color. A click on the icon directly takes the reader to the Comments section to submit his feedback. Also, at the bottom of every story, there is our email factcheck@intoday.com and a dedicated WhatsApp No. 73 7000 7000 through which the readers can reach us. All these inputs from the readers are regularly monitored.


Kanchan Kaur Assessor
19-Oct-2018 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The applicant clearly indicates to readers how they can send claims to fact-check. It also invites readers to send claims. 


done_all 5b marked as Fully compliant by Kanchan Kaur.

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.

T. V. Today Network Ltd.
09-Oct-2018 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago
Kanchan Kaur Assessor
19-Oct-2018 (1 month ago) Updated: 1 month ago

The applicant's correction policy is clear and public. It explains how mistakes are corrected, It has also explained a a time frame within which mistakes are corrected.


done_all 6a marked as Fully compliant by Kanchan Kaur.

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

T. V. Today Network Ltd.
09-Oct-2018 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

1. In the story published on July 28, 2018, titled ‘Postcard News fakes data to show more sports medals during NDA rule than UPA’, the focus of our story was on the number of medals won during the UPA and the NDA rule. Our premise for picking up a claim was based on the photographs that was published by Postcard News comparing Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi with sportspersons. However, we were pointed out for drawing our own inference from the pictures rather than restricting ourselves to the claim made explicitly. Taking a cue from the feedback, we corrected our story. Now, the story focuses on the posture of the two prime ministers with the medal winners.

https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/fact-check-postcard-news-fakes-data-to-show-more-sports-medals-during-nda-rule-than-upa-1298912-2018-07-28

2. In the story published on August 3, 2018, titled ‘The mystery behind 40-lakh omissions in Assam’s NRC’, we were pointed out for a sentence in the story which read: “India Today’s Fact Check team reveals the NRC surveyors could still have done a better job”. The objection came over editorialising the fact-check story. We realised that it was not in sync with our fact-check policy and removed all such references. In the same story, a reader pointed out that we were talking about “multiple sources” without specifying them. Abiding by our principle of maintaining transparency, we specified the sources used in the story.

https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/fact-check-the-mystery-behind-40-lakh-omissions-in-assam-s-nrc-1303941-2018-08-03


Kanchan Kaur Assessor
19-Oct-2018 (1 month ago) Updated: 4 weeks ago

The applicant has provided two examples of corrections. The corrections have been very clearly mentioned, right at the beginning of the story, and the sources stated. 


done_all 6b marked as Fully compliant by Kanchan Kaur.