T. V. Today Network Ltd.

Organization: T. V. Today Network Ltd.
Applicant: Bal Krishna
Assessor: Kanchan Kaur
Conclusion and recommendations
on 19-Nov-2019 (6 months ago)

Kanchan Kaur wrote:

The applicant is a fact-checking section of a legally established media house and publishes fact-checks regularly in English and Hindi. It has also started a Bangla channel.

The applicant covers a variety of subjects and all sides of the topic. It has a clear non-partisanship policy and rules to prevent staff from being involved in advocacy. Key sources are clearly linked and readers can easily replicate the fact-checks. It also makes good use of the parent company’s network of journalists and stringers to verify information for fact checks.

Its ownership is clearly listed, with a link to the parent company’s annual report. Key staff members are mentioned with their biographies.

The applicant invites readers to submit fact checks and provide feedback. It does so not only on the contact page, but also at the end of each fact check. It explains its methodology clearly and has an unambiguous correction policy that explains how mistakes are handled and gives a time frame for a correction to be published.

The application may be accepted. 

on 19-Nov-2019 (6 months 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.
28-Oct-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

India Today Fact Check is part of TV Today Network Limited. The latest annual report of the company for 2019 can be seen here.

The Fact Check is a segment within the India Today website which is managed independently from the editorial operations of India Today.

With the approval from the Board of Directors of the TV Today Network Limited, a Fact Check Team within the company (letter attached) was formed in 2018.

This team is independent of 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 per cent of the revenue goes towards the Fact Check Team.

Attachments: 

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

2). Setting up of the 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
16-Nov-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The applicant is a fact-checking section of a legally established media house. It has provided all necessary documentation. 


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.
28-Oct-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago
India Today currently publishes fact check stories in three languages - English, Hindi and Bangla.



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


2. https://aajtak.intoday.in/fact-check.html 

3.  https://www.dailyo.in/bangla/ 


Kanchan Kaur Assessor
16-Nov-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The fact-check sections in English and Hindi are quite regular in publishing fact checks--at more than one report a week over the past three months. However, the one in Bangla seems to have a large gap between April and October this year. However, from the end of October, it seems to be regularly publishing fact checks. 


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.
28-Oct-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

1. https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/fact-check-viral-image-of-manoj-tiwari-bursting-firecrackers-is-5-years-old-1615696-2019-11-04

2. https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/fact-check-no-this-is-not-the-funeral-picture-of-indira-gandhi-1614520-2019-10-31

3. https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/was-bjp-leader-pankaja-munde-in-tears-after-losing-in-maharashtra-polls-1612666-2019-10-25 

4. https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/fact-check-rahul-gandhi-altered-video-bjp-mla-1611955-2019-10-22 

5. https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/fact-check-here-is-the-true-story-behind-this-unique-breastfeeding-photo-going-viral-1610885-2019-10-19 

6. https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/fact-check-viral-image-of-sir-syed-ahmad-khan-on-burj-khalifa-is-photoshopped-1611124-2019-10-19 

7. https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/fact-check-karti-chidambaram-posts-unrelated-image-from-scotland-plogging-pics-pm-modi-1608936-2019-10-13 

8. https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/fact-check-is-shivraj-singh-chouhan-faking-his-hand-fracture-1606002-2019-10-03 

9. https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/dont-believe-sob-story-aiims-doctor-magic-pill-obesity-1598955-2019-09-13 

10. https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/morocco-road-char-dham-expressway-modi-truth-fact-check-1505350-2019-04-19 


We pick a story for fact check on its merit and possible social implications without allegiance to any ideology or political position. What story would get priority depends upon the consequences that the misinformation may have. 

Our fact check stories range from hoaxes on health, misinformation and smear campaign in politics to fake news on environmental issues and morphed pictures of celebrities. Besides picking up the claims and messages circulating of social media, we also consider the suggestions sent to us by readers.

We verify the claims by identifying the primary source of information and reaching out to the persons concerned or entities involved in the story. When necessary, we also speak to authorities on record and do on-ground verification of facts with the help of India Today's network of reporters across the country. 

We refrain from framing any opinion or making editorial comments in our stories and stick to bare facts which can be verified and cross-checked. We provide supporting evidences through hyperlinks in the stories and explain the methods used to reach the conclusion which a reader can replicate.



Kanchan Kaur Assessor
16-Nov-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The applicant demonstrates that fact checks reported by it covers a variety of subjects and speakers and does not focus on any one side of the topic or context. 


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.
28-Oct-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 6 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 details of the policy and declaration about the compliance can be seen in the attached document. 

At the time of joining  a film is shown to all employees about our expectations towards non-partisan behavior and use of social media. 

Our policies are available on our intranet for company-wide dissemination.

All employees, with no exception, are required to read and accept the terms of the Code of Conduct and Social Media Polices. Every employee file contains a signed copy of these policies. This is verified during internal and external audits. 


Files Attached
picture_as_pdf Non-Partisan Policy... (57 KB) picture_as_pdf Non-Partisan Policy... (57 KB)
Kanchan Kaur Assessor
16-Nov-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The applicant has clear rules preventing its staff from involvement in advocacy. It has provided a copy of its policy. It also has a publicly declared non-partisan policy.  


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.
28-Oct-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The credibility of one’s argument depends on the credibility of its sources. Therefore, we are extremely careful about picking up sources that we use in our stories. 

The focus is on reaching out for the primary source from where the information might have originated. It is important to evaluate if the source is directly related to the story that we are investigating. The idea is to find out if the person sharing the information is also the original author of the content.

To our maximum extent, we try to track down the people who are either the author or eyewitnesses to the original audio/video clip. We also look for people who are in a position to have access to credible information. Often, we use India Today reporters in various districts of the country for cross-verification. Not completely relying on just a single source, we corroborate statements with evidences that we gather.

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

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

Scholarly journals & newspapers: We rely on non-partisan and government agencies for expertise, analysis and official 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.

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 process and go back to the primary source for cross-verification.

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 persons concerned don’t have social media presence. In that case, our on-ground reporters act as an additional layer of cross-verification.

Kanchan Kaur Assessor
16-Nov-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Key sources are clearly referenced and linked. The audience can easily understand and replicate the fact check. The applicant also uses the parent organisation's network of journalists to verify.


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.
28-Oct-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The parent company, TV Today Network Ltd., is a public limited company. Latest annual report of 2019 available publicly can be seen here. 

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
16-Nov-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The applicant clearly lists its owner and has supplied the annual report of the Network that it is a part of it. The report is publicly available. 


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.
28-Oct-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago
Kanchan Kaur Assessor
16-Nov-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The names of the 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.
28-Oct-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago
Kanchan Kaur Assessor
16-Nov-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The applicant invites readers to reach out through various media, apart from a clearly listed contact page. 


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.
28-Oct-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago
Kanchan Kaur Assessor
16-Nov-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The website provides a clear explanation of its fact-checking methodology. This explanation is easily accessible. 


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.
28-Oct-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 6 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
16-Nov-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The applicant not only provides a dedicated email and Whats App number for readers to reach it, but it also invites them to send feedback and stories to fact-check at the end of each story. 


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.
28-Oct-2019 (7 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago
Kanchan Kaur Assessor
16-Nov-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The applicant's website has a clear, transparent, easily accessible explanation of its correction policy. The policy explains how mistakes are handled and corrected and in what time frame. 


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.

Kanchan Kaur Assessor
16-Nov-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The applicant has a public page listing all corrections made and it has provided two examples.


done_all 6b marked as Fully compliant by Kanchan Kaur.