The International Fact-Checking Network does not intervene in specific complaints – those are to be handled by the signatory & any statutory press regulation body it may be signed up to in its own country.
If a reader believes the organization is violating the Code of Principles, they can inform the International Fact-Checking Network and we will look at such claims.
Responding to claims of violations of the Code
The International Fact-Checking Network is not an appeals body but has responsibility to suspend or withdraw signatory status if it finds a signatory has seriously violated the code. Depending on the nature of the allegations made, the IFCN Director and Advisory Board will respond as follows:
1. For a minor matter – a direct discussion
If the IFCN Director and board are informed that a signatory has fallen short of the standards set in the code but judge (a) the infringement is real but not serious &/or systematic and (b) appears to result from a misinterpretation, not a wilful disregard, of the code, the IFCN will hold a direct discussion with the signatory about the issue, aimed at preventing repetition.
2. If more serious – a public statement explaining the issue and steps agreed
If the IFCN Director and board learn a signatory has violated one or more criteria of the code and the matter is serious enough to require corrective action and informing the public, the IFCN will discuss with the signatory and issue a statement explaining its stance and steps agreed to resolve the issue. This will also be noted in the annual report.
3. If would take time to resolve – suspension for a period to allow that to happen
If the IFCN Director and board learn a signatory has made a serious violation of the code and is willing to correct but needs time to do so, the IFCN may temporarily suspend signatory status to allow time for this to take place.
4. If it appears serious – but the IFCN needs time to properly investigate an issue
If the IFCN Director and board believe a signatory may have made a serious violation of the code but cannot agree a response with the signatory, it may suspend the signatory’s signatory status to allow a fair investigation before deciding on action.
5. If violation is serious and correction not possible – withdrawal of signatory status
If the IFCN Director and board learn that a signatory has made a very serious violation of the code, the signatory sought to deliberately conceal required information in the application process, and the IFCN and signatory cannot agree on how to resolve the matter, the IFCN may withdraw verified signatory status. Organizations who have had signatory status withdrawn may not reapply sooner than two years.
The International Fact-Checking Network will publish a report each year on the operation of the code, including complaints received and responses, providing evidence on the level of trust users can have in the verified signatories.