Australian Associated Press

Organization: Australian Associated Press
Applicant: Holly Nott
Assessor: Raymond Joseph

Background

After 85 years of operation, the Australian Associated Press faced shutter in 2020 after two of its biggest partners declared it was not sustainable and pulled out. It was saved from closure at the last moment after the newswire and fact-checking parts of the AAP were sold to "a consortium of impact investors and philanthropists” and registered as a non-profit entity in August 2020. The new AAP, although forced to shed some jobs, continued with the work of its predecessor. It first began fact-checking in 2018 and set up a dedicated fact-checking unit in 2019, and its work has continued under its newly-formed organisation.

The fact-checking unit has expanded its fact-checking work to the Pacific Region. This includes New Zealand, where five local freelancers have been trained by the AAP fact-checking unit. All AAP cadets spend at least 6-12 weeks working in the fact-checking unit before being transferred to other sections of the newswire.

The AAP fact-checking unit does an impressive number of fact-checks on a regular basis, far exceeding the minimum requirement for IFCN membership. Their fact-checks cover a wide range of subjects and issues that are subjected to well-established protocols and workflows to ensure that each claim is interrogated in the same way. Their choice of fact-checks also illustrates non-partisanship in their choice of fact-checks of politics players and parties. They are transparent and fair in all their processes and the website is equally transparent and easy to navigate. Links to their sources, as well as a glossary of additional sources, are part of their fact-checks, making it easy for users to duplicate and, in some cases, do further reading and research of their own.

Assessment Conclusion

Although the new entity was brand new when I did this assessment, based on the most recent fact-checks and those done before the AAP became a non-profit company early in

August, it is clear that they continue to do quality, well-researched work. Or put another way, it wasn’t broken so they haven’t tried to fix it.

In summary: while the registration of AAP as a non-profit is brand new, they have continued with the same high quality fact-checking as they did in the past. As such, I have no hesitation in recommending that the AAP’s IFCN membership be renewed.

on 26-Aug-2020 (1 year ago)

Raymond Joseph assesses application as Compliant

A short summary in native publishing language


Section 1: Eligibility to be a signatory

To be eligible to be a signatory, applicants must meet these six criteria

  • 1.1 The applicant is a legally registered organization, or a distinct team or unit within a legally registered organization, and details of this are easily found on its website.
  • 1.2 The team, unit or organization is set up exclusively for the purpose of fact-checking.
  • 1.3 The applicant has published an average of at least one fact check a week over the course of the six months prior to the date of application. For applicants from countries with at least 5 or more verified signatories need to have at least a fact check a week over the twelve months of publishing track. Consult to factchecknet@poynter.org for confirmation.
  • 1.4 On average, at least 75% of the applicant’s fact checks focus on claims related to issues that, in the view of the IFCN, relate to or could have an impact on the welfare or well-being of individuals, the general public or society.
  • 1.5 The applicant’s editorial output is not, in the view of the IFCN, controlled by the state, a political party or politician.
  • 1.6 If the organization receives funding from local or foreign state or political sources, it provides a statement on its site setting out to the satisfaction of the IFCN, how it ensures its funders do not influence the findings of its reports.

Criteria 1.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please explain where on your website you set out information about your organization’s legal status and how this complies with criteria. Attach a link to the relevant page of your website.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Please review the Organisational Structure page of our website: https://www.aap.com.au/aap-factcheck-organisational-structure/

Australian Associated Press Ltd is an independent not-for-profit organisation established in 2020 to advance tolerance and understanding by protecting independent, ethical and sustainable news gathering and reporting in Australia. The organisation acquired the former Australian Associated Press Pty Ltd Newswire and FactCheck businesses on August 4, 2020. Australian Associated Press Ltd continues the 85 year legacy of the original Australian Associated Press Pty Ltd and provides media companies and corporations with news and information of public interest.

As a not-for-profit entity, Australian Associated Press Ltd has no owners or shareholders. It is constituted by a small group of members who have no ownership rights over the organisation. The organisation is governed by a board of elected directors.

AAP derives income from subscriptions to its news, image and information services.

AAP is an independent and non-partisan organisation. AAP accepts philanthropic donations and funding to support the losses of its operations. Donors and funders neither seek nor are granted any influence over editorial operations or the governance of the organisation.

AAP FactCheck is funded by a targeted allocation from AAP's general newsroom budget and income earned through a Third Party Fact Checker partnership agreement with Facebook. Under this partnership agreement, AAP FactCheck maintains full editorial independence in selection of matter for review and in fact-checking conclusions. Seed funding for AAP FactCheck was originally contributed by Google News Initiative, and GNI has since offered funding towards costs associated with two short-term, election-specific factchecking projects. 


The business registration for the new legal entity is attached, and the relevant Company Objects are included below for your reference: 

1.1 Objects

The Company is established to advance social and public welfare, to advance education and

to promote mutual respect and tolerance between Australians for the benefit of the general

public in Australia by:

(a) promoting independent, ethical and sustainable news gathering and reporting to

advance understanding in Australia of the social, economic and political circumstances

of those in need, including in regional and rural Australia and Indigenous communities,

(b) promoting activities and programs in primary and secondary schools and in tertiary

institutions that support and develop the use of accurate, fact-based communications

in social media and public discourse;

(c) providing access to accurate information about Australian society that enables and

encourages widespread understanding and tolerance among all sectors of the

community;

(d) providing access to accurate, fact-based international media sources that enables

broader public understanding of issues relating to the natural environment in

Australia, and to the security or safety of the Australian public (including from geopolitical, environmental and health causes); and

(e) pursuing any other specific purpose that will advance any of those objects.

---

AAP is able to share the names of all donors who have publicly disclosed their contribution. These donors include philanthropists Dr John McKinnon, Geoff Wilson and Fred Woollard, as well as Small Giants Academy. Separate to these donors, AAP was funded by Melbourne University and SEFA Partnerships.

The remainder of the grant funders and impact lenders contributed on the basis of strict confidentiality and have not granted AAP permission to disclose their details to external parties.

However, all funders have signed the donor commitment letter (attached) that stipulates AAP will maintain its independence. Furthermore, AAP must meet the standards of its charitable constitution, and the AAP Editorial Advisory Committee will be established to monitor the independence of the AAP news service and promote compliance with all principles. AAP's Charter of Editorial Independence is attached to further support our response.

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf AAP Ltd Business Reg... (141 KB) description Donor Commitment Let... (16 KB) description AAP Charter of Edito... (15 KB)
Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Australian Associated Press Ltd is an independent not-for-profit organisation established in 2020 "to advance tolerance and understanding by protecting independent, ethical, and sustainable news gathering and reporting in Australia."  It is registered as an Incorporated Body with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (Proof of registration with full details supplied with application).

Abridged Proof of registration document is published on their site here: https://www.aap.com.au/aap-factcheck-organisational-structure/ 

Australian Associated Press was born from the ashes of the previous Australian Associated Press, after two of their biggest shareholders, Nine Entertainment and News Corp Australia, said it was no longer sustainable and pulled out. It was saved from closing down at the last moment after it was sold to "a consortium of impact investors and philanthropists.” See https://bit.ly/3g8jM7A  and https://bit.ly/3g9QTrD

The new Australian Associated Press Pty Ltd Newswire and FactCheck businesses were acquired on August 4, 2020, and is registered as a not-for-profit entity with no owners or shareholders. "It is constituted by a small group of members who have no ownership rights over the organisation," according to this assessment application. The organisation is governed by a board of elected directors.

AAP FactCheck is funded by a targeted allocation from AAP's general newsroom budget and income earned through a Third Party Fact Checker partnership agreement with Facebook, according to the info supplied with the application. Seed funding for AAP FactCheck was originally contributed by Google News Initiative. GNI has since offered to contribute to costs associated with two short-term, election-specific fact-checking projects. 

They have also attached the donor commitment letter regarding the Editorial independence of AAP. I am satisfied with the commitment of the donors commitment letter. 


done_all 1.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 1.2
Proof you meet criteria
Please answer the following questions – (see notes in Guidelines for Application on how to answer)

 1. When and why was your fact-checking operation started?
 2. How many people work or volunteer in the organization and what are their roles?
 3. What different activities does your organization carry out?
 4. What are the goals of your fact-checking operation over the coming year?

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

1. AAP first began factchecking work in December 2018 and set up the AAP FactCheck unit in our Sydney headquarters in March 2019. We recognised there was a gap in the service in our region and wanted to provide a factchecking service focused on Australia-relevant content ahead of 2019's state and federal elections as a way of ensuring higher standards of public debate. It was also a way to support the Australian community by addressing misinformation, and to support our media clients and complement the content AAP was already providing to them through our existing relationships. AAP has always had a focus on unbiased and accurate reporting, so factchecking aligned perfectly with our core principles as a news business and we viewed it as an area where there would be continued and increasing need, and wanted to be part of the solution.   

2. We have a full-time staff of three people who all have responsibility for sourcing checkable claims and writing articles. The FactCheck editor has additional responsibility for managing all staff, editing and publishing content, and engaging with peers and industry networks, with the support of the FactCheck Deputy Editor as required. in addition to a permanent FactCheck journalist, AAP's four cadets have each individually spent 6-12 weeks training with the FactCheck team to build their verification skills and take them into other areas of the AAP newswire business. In March this year, AAP also began working with a rota of 5 New Zealand-based freelance journalists as we expanded our reach into the South Pacific, and to allow us to tackle more misinformation. They have been trained by AAP FactCheck, Facebook and Google, and have worked in responsible positions with other AAP business units so understand our core values and standards. The Managing Editor has oversight of AAP FactCheck to the extent that is required to ensure standards and contractual obligations are being met, oppportunities for growth examined, and assists in recruiting staff.  

3. For 85 years, AAP has been Australia's national wire service, providing reliable and accurate breaking news, world, sport, politics, court, finance and photographic content to every major Australian media outlet on a 24/7 basis. As of August 4, AAP Newswire cut ties with other AAP businesses to become a stand-alone, not-for-profit entity focused entirely on delivering unbiased and impartial news of importance to Australians. FactChecking is a core and integral part of our new mission. 

4. AAP now has an increased focus on building the scope of our factchecking work, starting with an eight-week project to increase scrutiny of political debate in New Zealand ahead of their federal election and referenda on September 19 this year. AAP FactCheck has also identified a need to increase our social media profile as a means of highlighting our work to more people and welcoming more suggestions from the public.  We want to maximise the impact of our work by engaging with the community in more ways and raising the public profile of AAP FactCheck. We also want to ensure we continue to respond to misinformation and fake news as quickly as possible in order to remain as relevant as possible to the public and our clients.       

Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

1) AAP first began fact-checking in 2018 and set up a dedicated fact-checking unit in 2019. It was started to fill a gap in Australia-relevant content and to help combat misinformation ahead of the 2019 state and federal elections. Although the new entity was only registered on August 4, 2020, a Wayback Machine search (https://bit.ly/2Q57VfO) reveals that the work done by unit then has continued, using the same strict protocols that were previously in place for fact-checking.

2)  AAP's fact-checking unit has a full-time staff of three people who all have responsibility for sourcing checkable claims and writing articles. The FactCheck editor also has responsibility for managing all staff, editing and publishing content, and engaging with peers and industry networks, with the support of the FactCheck Deputy Editor. Besides its single permanent staff FactCheck journalist, AAP's cadets each spend 6-12 weeks training with the FactCheck team to build their verification skills before being placed in other areas of the AAP newswire business.
In
March this year, AAP began working with five New Zealand-based freelance journalists as it expanded its fact-checking into the South Pacific;

3) As of August 4, AAP Newswire cut ties with other AAP businesses to become a stand-alone, not-for-profit entity focused entirely on delivering unbiased and impartial news of importance to Australians. FactChecking is a core and integral part of their new mission, the application  states;

4) 

a) The new AAP has an increased focus on building the scope of its fact-checking work. This includes an eight-week project to increase scrutiny of political debate in New Zealand ahead of that country's federal election and referendum on September 19, 2020.


b) AAP FactCheck has identified a need to increase its public and social media profile to highlight its work and encourage more people to submit content for fact-checking;

c) to respond to misinformation and "fake news" speedily in order to remain as relevant as possible to the public and its clients.


done_all 1.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 1.3
Proof you meet criteria
- The applicant has published an average of at least one fact check a week over the course of the six months prior to the date of application.
- For applicants from countries with at least 5 or more verified signatories need to have at least a fact check a week over the twelve months of publishing track.
- Consult to factchecknet@poynter.org for confirmation.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

AAP FactCheck has published about 100 factchecks in the past six months. 

Please click through to this google sheet - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1cMc3_l91G4QlFZRfeCWPiFJM5HgKU5cLNiwjoj4hxFg/edit?usp=sharing

Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

AAP FactCheck has far exceeded the minimum required number of fact-checks, having published at least 100 in the past six months. As previously indicated, AAP was saved from shuttering and was reconstituted as a non-profit in August 2020. Its fact-checking unit has continued with its work using the same protocols and practices as before. (See this example from November 15, 2019: https://bit.ly/2Q2mxgf). As such, I recommend that prior fact-checks be accepted by IFCN as proof of regular publication)


done_all 1.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 1.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous three months. No additional information required.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Almost 90 per cent of AAP Factcheck articles published over the previous six months have focused on claims related to public interest issues. Of the roughly 100 claims included in the archive attached to this application, about 60 per cent have public health at their centre. Of these claims, the single biggest issue we confronted was coronavirus misinformation. 

The other public interest issues that have been a focus of the past six months are crime, politics, business/economy, and the environment - and various combinations of all of them. Together they account for about 30 per cent of claims addressed by AAP FactCheck. Less than 10 per cent of our work during the past six months dealt with claims that (while false and popular) were not likely to impact on the well-being or welfare of society.

Please see the spreadhseet of claims via this link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1cMc3_l91G4QlFZRfeCWPiFJM5HgKU5cLNiwjoj4hxFg/edit?usp=sharing

Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

I have reviewed the fact-checks submitted with this application, as well as a random selection of fact-checks, and find that  AAP FactCheck meets the IFCN criteria. 


done_all 1.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 1.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please explain any commercial, financial and/or institutional relationship your organization has to the state, politicians or political parties in the country or countries you cover. Also explain funding or support received from foreign as well as local state or political actors over the previous financial year.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

AAP has always been at the forefront of delivering impartial, independent and accurate news to Australia’s leading media outlets and beyond.

It is one of only a handful of news agencies worldwide not funded or influenced by its government.

AAP operates completely independently of government in Australia. We have no political affiliations nor agendas, and do not receive funding from any individual politician, political party or government organisation. This is also true regarding other nations in the South Pacific region that are the subject of AAP FactCheck articles on occasion.

AAP FactCheck adheres to policies that protect and enhance AAP's neutrality. However, AAP FactCheck is more stringent, and never permits comment and conjecture in AAP FactCheck articles as is sometimes permitted in other AAP content in circumstances covered by 2.2/2.3 of the AAP policy on Impartiality and Fairness (copied below.)

AAP’s full Code of Practice can be found at https://www.aap.com.au/about-factcheck/#item-14

Impartiality and Fairness

2.1. AAP does not promote particular views or commercial interests, either through undue emphasis or by suppressing relevant material.

2.2. In reporting views on controversial matters, always seek to include a fair balance of other views. Any comment or conjecture by the journalist writing the story should be identifiable as such.

2.3. AAP journalists have latitude to express their own views more freely only when, in the opinion of the Editor in Chief or Editor, they have special knowledge or expertise or sufficient reputation. Such pieces should be labelled as View, Comment or Analysis.

2.4. Individuals or groups singled out for criticism should be given a right of reply, in the original story whenever possible.

2.5. Emotive or contentious adjectives should be avoided unless they are being quoted.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

AAP has no commercial, financial or institutional relationship with the Australian government, government organisation or any political party. See "Neutrality" https://www.aap.com.au/about-factcheck/#item-12 


done_all 1.5 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 1.6
Proof you meet criteria
If you confirmed the organization receives funding from local or foreign state or political sources, provide a link to where on your website you set out how you ensure the editorial independence of your work.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Not applicable.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Not applicable


done_all 1.6 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Section 2: A commitment to Non-partisanship and Fairness

To be compliant on nonpartisanship and fairness, applicants must meet these five criteria

  • 2.1 The applicant fact-checks using the same high standards of evidence and judgement for equivalent claims regardless of who made the claim.
  • 2.2 The applicant does not unduly concentrate its fact-checking on any one side, considers the reach and importance of claims it selects to check and publishes a short statement on its website to set out how it selects claims to check.
  • 2.3 The applicant discloses in its fact checks relevant interests of the sources it quotes where the reader might reasonably conclude those interests could influence the accuracy of the evidence provided. It also discloses in its fact checks any commercial or other such relationships it has that a member of the public might reasonably conclude could influence the findings of the fact check.
  • 2.4 The applicant is not as an organization affiliated with nor declares or shows support for any party, any politician or political candidate, nor does it advocate for or against any policy positions on any issues save for transparency and accuracy in public debate.
  • 2.5 The applicant sets out its policy on non-partisanship for staff on its site. Save for the issues of accuracy and transparency, the applicant’s staff do not get involved in advocacy or publicise their views on policy issues the organization might fact check in such a way as might lead a reasonable member of the public to see the organization’s work as biased.

Criteria 2.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please share links to 10 fact checks published over the past year that you believe demonstrate your non-partisanship.
Please briefly explain how the fact checks selected show that (I) you use the same high standards of evidence for equivalent claims, (II) follow the same essential process for every fact check and (III) let the evidence dictate your conclusions.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

AAP prides itself on being non-partisan and unbiased - and we have a rock-solid track-record and reputation for this kind of approach to the news.

In March 2020, when our shareholders announced AAP would close, community concerns about the demise of the only truly impartial media presence in Australia led to the formation of a consortium of philanthropists and impact investors, all focused on maintaining an unbiased media as a core tenet of a healthy democracy. This consortium finalised the purchase of AAP's editorial operation on August 4 this year, ensuring our 85-year tradition of editorial excellence can continue.

AAP does not focus on one side of politics over the other, and regardless of the subject matter, we apply the same methodology to arrive at all our various verdicts. We follow the evidence and facts to their conclusion and never work to support our own assumptions or agendas. The majority of the subjects we have tackled in the past six months have been important and widely relevant. From the devastating bushfires of the Australian summer, throughout the global pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement, AAP FactCheck has been debunking misleading content from any source we find.

AAP FactCheck delivers balanced information regardless of the politics associated with the claims we address. The below articles show a mix of subject matters and political parties, but the articles all demonstrate the same methodology.

Misinformation about Australia's ruling parties:

https://www.aap.com.au/pm-morrison-did-not-issue-a-tweet-about-no-racism-in-australia/

https://www.aap.com.au/duttons-mckenzie-defence-fails-audit-test/

https://www.aap.com.au/covidsafe-app-location-detection-post-is-a-hoax-message-says-department-of-health/

Misinformation about Australia's opposition parties:

https://www.aap.com.au/greens-and-labor-did-not-sign-a-forest-protection-act-that-cut-rangers-and-burn-programs/

https://www.aap.com.au/the-burning-truth-about-the-greens-bushfire-risk-policy/

Misinformation about the NZ government:

https://www.aap.com.au/nzs-three-month-wage-subsidy-does-not-mean-there-will-be-a-three-month-lockdown/

Misinformation about coronavirus:

https://www.aap.com.au/what-it-really-means-when-covid-19-exposure-notifications-is-in-your-phone-settings/

https://www.aap.com.au/instagrams-covid-19-chloroquine-merchants-are-barking-up-the-wrong-tree/

https://www.aap.com.au/china-is-not-the-only-source-of-serious-viral-outbreaks-around-the-world/

https://www.aap.com.au/dettol-effective-against-known-strains-not-2019-novel-coronavirus/

Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

I have assessed the examples supplied, as well as a random selection of fact-checks, and found that AAP FactCheck uses the same processes and protocols for all fact-checks: 

1) Statement on what is being checked; 

2) An analysis of the claim and evidence that was used to confirm or rebut the claim or statement; 

3) Verdict of the fact-check; 

4)  Categorisation of the claim

Mostly True – The claim is mostly accurate but there is a minor error or problem.

Somewhat True – A part or parts of the claim are accurate but there is also a significant problem or inaccuracy.

Misleading – The claim is accurate in parts but information has also been presented incorrectly, out of context or omitted.

Ambiguous – It is not possible to determine the veracity of the claim.

Somewhat False – The claim has a problem or inaccuracy but it does contain a significant element or elements of truth.

Mostly False – The claim is mostly false with one minor element of truth.

False – The checkable claim is false.

What is of interest is that AAP FactCheck links tools it has used (e.g. TinEye) making its fact-check both informative and educational


done_all 2.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 2.2
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to a place on your website where you explain how you select claims to check, explaining how you ensure you do not unduly concentrate your fact-checking on any one side, and how you consider the reach and importance of the claims you select to check.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Please see Selection Criteria - https://www.aap.com.au/about-factcheck/#item-1

Please also see Neutrality Statement: https://www.aap.com.au/about-factcheck/#item-12


Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

1) AAP FactCheck provides a clear explanation of how it selects claims to check. See here > https://www.aap.com.au/about-factcheck/#item-1

2) Policy on "Neutrality" and "Impartiality and Fairness": See here: https://www.aap.com.au/about-factcheck/#item-12 


done_all 2.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 2.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous year. No additional information required.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

No additional information required.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

I have assessed a random selection of fact-checks, as well as using Wayback Machine, allowing me to look back to earlier fact-checks. I also looked at the examples provided for previous IFCN assessment covering 2019 and I am satisfied that AAP Fact-Check meets the criteria for this section.


done_all 2.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 2.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous year. No additional information required.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

I applied the same steps as in 2.3 (a combination of supplied fact-checks, Wayback Machine and examples supplied from the 2019 assessment) and I am satisfied that AAP FactCheck meets the criteria.


done_all 2.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 2.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to a place on your website where you publish a statement setting out your policy on non-partisanship for staff and how it ensures the organization meets this criteria.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

AAP FactCheck content must be based on the facts alone. We do not include commentary, opinion or political bias. Staff must disclose any conflict of interest at the point when AAP FactCheck is assigning claims for checking - and while it has never occurred, if a conflict arose, that AAP FactCheck staff member would be removed from direct involvement in assessing the claim in question. As outlined in AAP's Code of Practice, failure to disclose a personal conflict can result in dismissal at the AAP Editor's discretion. We are bound by the AAP Code of Practice, but AAP FactCheck has more stringent requirements relating to never expressing opinion or judgment (2.2 and 2.3 in the Code of Practice).

Please see our Neutrality Statement here: https://www.aap.com.au/about-factcheck/#item-12

The full AAP Code of Practice can be found here: https://www.aap.com.au/about-us/#item-2

Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

See Neutrality Statement here: https://www.aap.com.au/about-factcheck/#item-12

Full AAP Code of Practice can be found here: https://www.aap.com.au/about-us/#item-2


done_all 2.5 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Section 3: A commitment to Standards and Transparency of Sources

To be compliant on sources, applicants must meet these four criteria

  • 3.1 The applicant identifies the source of all significant evidence used in their fact checks, providing relevant links where the source is available online, in such a way that users can replicate their work if they wish. In cases where identifying the source would compromise the source’s personal security, the applicant provides as much detail as compatible with the source’s safety.
  • 3.2 The applicant uses the best available primary, not secondary, sources of evidence wherever suitable primary sources are available. Where suitable primary sources are not available, the applicant explains the use of a secondary source.
  • 3.3 The applicant checks all key elements of claims against more than one named source of evidence save where the one source is the only source relevant on the topic.
  • 3.4 The applicant identifies in its fact checks the relevant interests of the sources it uses where the reader might reasonably conclude those interests could influence the accuracy of the evidence provided.

Criteria 3.1
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

No additional evidence is required.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Having reviewed a wide and random and selection of fact-checks, I am satisfied that AAP meets all of the above criteria.


done_all 3.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 3.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

No additional evidence is required.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Having reviewed a wide and random selection of fact-checks, I am satisfied that AAP meets the criteria.

done_all 3.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 3.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

No additional evidence is required.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Having reviewed a wide and random selection of fact-checks, I am satisfied that AAP meets the criteria.


done_all 3.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 3.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

No additional evidence is required.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Having reviewed a wide and random selection of fact-checks, I am satisfied that AAP meets the criteria.


done_all 3.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Section 4: A commitment to Transparency of Funding & Organization

To be compliant on funding and organization, applicants must meet these five criteria

  • 4.1 Applicants that are independent organizations have a page on their website detailing each source of funding accounting for 5% or more of total revenue for its previous financial year. This page also sets out the legal form in which the organization is registered (e.g. as a non-profit, as a company etc).
  • 4.2 Applicants that are the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization make a statement on ownership.
  • 4.3 A statement on the applicant’s website sets out the applicant’s organizational structure and makes clear how and by whom editorial control is exercised.
  • 4.4 A page on the applicant’s website details the professional biography of all those who, according to the organizational structure and play a significant part in its editorial output.
  • 4.5 The applicant provides easy means on its website and/or via social media for users to communicate with the editorial team.

Criteria 4.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please confirm whether you are an ‘independent organization’
or ‘the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization’ and share proof of this organizational status.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

AAP is a not-for-profit organisation committed to bringing accurate and unbiased news to the Australian mass media market and the public. AAP FactCheck is a unit within AAP and is allocated funding from the AAP budget. It is also subject to AAP's editorial principles and standards, but remains operationally separate from the daily news stream. AAP FactCheck has its own editor and journalists, and in some cases, more stringent standards than those that apply to the rest of AAP. The AAP FactCheck Editor reports to the AAP Managing Editor, in part to review FactCheck content to ensure it meets editorial standards and remains bias-free. Ultimately, the AAP Editor and CEO are responsible for all content from AAP but they have no daily input in the operations of AAP FactCheck.  

Please see the Organisational Structure page: https://www.aap.com.au/aap-factcheck-organisational-structure/


Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

There is a mine of information,

4.1) Sources of funding are identified here: https://www.aap.com.au/aap-factcheck-organisational-structure/ 

4.2) Organisational structure details here: https://www.aap.com.au/aap-factcheck-organisational-structure/

4.3) Organisational structure also here: https://www.aap.com.au/aap-factcheck-organisational-structure/

4.4) AAP Fact-Check bios: https://www.aap.com.au/factcheck-team/

4.5) Contact Us here: https://www.aap.com.au/contact-us/


done_all 4.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 4.2
Proof you meet criteria
If your organization is an “independent organization”, please share a link to the page on your website where you detail your funding and indicate the legal form in which the organization is registered (e.g. as a non-profit, as a company etc).
If your organization is “the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization”, please share a link to the statement on your website about your ownership.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Please see the Organisational Structure page: https://www.aap.com.au/aap-factcheck-organisational-structure/


Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

done_all 4.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 4.3
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you set out your organizational structure, making clear how and by whom editorial control is exercised.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Please see the Organisational Structure page: https://www.aap.com.au/aap-factcheck-organisational-structure/


Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

 Organisational Structure (see infographic): https://www.aap.com.au/aap-factcheck-organisational-structure/


done_all 4.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 4.4
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you set out the professional biographies of those who play a significant part in your organization’s editorial output.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

See AAP FactCheck Team: https://www.aap.com.au/factcheck-team/

Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

AAP FactCheck team bios here: https://www.aap.com.au/factcheck-team/


done_all 4.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 4.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you encourage users to communicate with your editorial team.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

We encourage people to contact us via our email address which is highlighted extensively throughout our website, as indicated below.

About AAP FactCheck: https://www.aap.com.au/about-factcheck/

Claim Selection: https://www.aap.com.au/about-factcheck/#item-1

Make a Submission: https://www.aap.com.au/make-a-submission/

Provide Feedback: https://www.aap.com.au/contact-us/

Corrections: https://www.aap.com.au/about-factcheck/#item-7

News Media Claims: https://www.aap.com.au/about-factcheck/#item-8

Social Media Claims: https://www.aap.com.au/about-factcheck/#item-9

We also respond to queries sent via the Contact Us form of the corporate website: https://www.aap.com.au/contact/

Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Make a Submission: https://www.aap.com.au/make-a-submission/

Provide Feedback: https://www.aap.com.au/contact-us/

AAP also responds to queries sent via the "Contact Us" form on the agency's website: https://www.aap.com.au/contact/ (FactCheck is reached via a tab on the  main  website)

See recommendations in Section 4.1


done_all 4.5 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Section 5: A commitment to Standards and Transparency of Methodology

To be compliant on methodology, applicants must meet these six criteria

  • 5.1 The applicant publishes on its website a statement about the methodology it uses to select, research, write and publish its fact checks.
  • 5.2 The applicant selects claims to check based primarily on the reach and importance of the claims, and where possible explains the reason for choosing the claim to check.
  • 5.3 The applicant sets out in its fact checks relevant evidence that appears to support the claim as well as relevant evidence that appears to undermine it.
  • 5.4 The applicant in its fact checks assesses the merits of the evidence found using the same high standards applied to evidence on equivalent claims, regardless of who made the claim.
  • 5.5 The applicant seeks where possible to contact those who made the claim to seek supporting evidence, noting that (I) this is often not possible with online claims, (II) if the person who makes the claim fails to reply in a timely way this should not impede the fact check, (III) if a speaker adds caveats to the claim, the fact-checker should be free to continue with checking the original claim, (IV) fact-checkers may not wish to contact the person who made the claim for safety or other legitimate reasons.
  • 5.6 The applicant encourages users to send in claims to check, while making it clear what readers can legitimately expect will be fact-checked and what isn’t fact-checkable.

Criteria 5.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a link to the statement on your website that explains the methodology you use to select, research, write and publish your fact checks.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Criteria 5.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

No additional evidence is required.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

I am satisfied that all the required criteria have been met


done_all 5.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 5.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

No additional evidence is required.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

I am satisfied that all the required criteria have been met


done_all 5.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 5.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

No additional evidence is required.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

I am satisfied that all the required criteria have been met


done_all 5.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 5.5
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

No additional evidence is required.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

I am satisfied that all the required criteria have been met


done_all 5.5 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 5.6
Proof you meet criteria
Please describe how you encourage users to send in claims to check, while making it clear what readers can legitimately expect will be fact-checked and what isn’t fact-checkable. Include links where appropriate. If you do not allow this, explain why.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

We encourage readers to contact us with suggested claims for factchecking throughout our AAP FactCheck pages. We also have pages specifically dedicated to encouraging people to reach out to us with claims.

We clearly set out what is in and out of scope in our Claim Selection section, and reference or reiterate that information in multiple places on our website (listed below).

Claim Selection: https://www.aap.com.au/about-factcheck/#item-1

Social Media Claims: https://www.aap.com.au/about-factcheck/#item-9

News Media Claims: https://www.aap.com.au/about-factcheck/#item-8

Make a Submission: https://www.aap.com.au/make-a-submission/

Provide Feedback: https://www.aap.com.au/contact-us/

Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago


Social Media Claims: https://www.aap.com.au/about-factcheck/#item-9 (Includes this at the end: "If you would like to suggest a submission for review, please contact us at factcheck@aap.com.au"

News Media Claims: (Includes this at the end: "If you would like to suggest a submission for review, please contact us at factcheck@aap.com.au") https://www.aap.com.au/about-factcheck/#item-8  

Make a Submission: Includes email address - FactCheck@aap.com.au - for claims submission) https://www.aap.com.au/make-a-submission/ 

Provide Feedback: https://www.aap.com.au/contact-us/

You can contact AAP FactCheck via email at FactCheck@aap.com.au/  to:

provide feedback

make a complaint

request information

request a correction

submit a claim for fact-checking

Details of what AAP will and won't check: See "Claim Selection" under "Methodology" https://www.aap.com.au/about-factcheck/#item-1


done_all 5.6 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Section 6: A commitment to an Open & Honest Corrections Policy

To be compliant on corrections policy, applicants must meet these five criteria

  • 6.1 The applicant has a corrections or complaints policy that is easily visible and accessible on the organization’s website or frequently referenced in broadcasts.
  • 6.2 The policy sets out clear definitions of what it does and does not cover, how major mistakes, especially those requiring revised conclusions of a fact check, are handled, and the fact that some complaints may justify no response. This policy is adhered to scrupulously.
  • 6.3 Where credible evidence is provided that the applicant has made a mistake worthy of correction, the applicant makes a correction openly and transparently, seeking as far as possible to ensure that users of the original see the correction and the corrected version.
  • 6.4 The applicant, if an existing signatory, should either on its corrections/complaints page or on the page where it declares itself an IFCN signatory inform users that if they believe the signatory is violating the IFCN Code, they may inform the IFCN, with a link to the IFCN site.
  • 6.5 If the applicant is the fact-checking unit of a media company, it is a requirement of signatory status that the parent media company has and adheres to an open and honest corrections policy.

Criteria 6.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a link to where you publish on your website your corrections or complaints policy. If you are primarily a broadcaster, please provide evidence you frequently reference your corrections policy in broadcasts.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Corrections Policy: https://www.aap.com.au/about-factcheck/#item-7

A link to the IFCN corrections policy/complaint submission form is included at the end of AAP's Correction Policy section https://www.ifcncodeofprinciples.poynter.org/complaints-policy 


done_all 6.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 6.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the corrections policy to verify it meets critera. No additional information needed.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

No additional evidence is required.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

I am satisfied that AAP meets the necessary criteria



done_all 6.2 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 6.3
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a short statement about how the policy was adhered to over the previous year (or six months if this is the first application) including evidence of two examples of the responses provided by the applicant to a correction request over the previous year. Where no correction request has been made in the previous year, you must state this in your application, which will be publicly available in the assessment if your application is successful.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

AAP FactCheck adheres to the Corrections policy outlined on our website: https://www.aap.com.au/about-factcheck/#item-7

We acknowledge receipt of any warranted, substantive complaint within one business day and initiate a review process. If further information is needed from the complainant or other sources it is requested as quickly as possible. Correction requests are brought to the attention of the FactCheck editor, who may consult with team members or senior AAP editorial staff during the review process. If a complainant is not satisfied with the AAP FactCheck editor’s decision, the complainant may refer their request for correction to the AAP Standards committee, or external bodies such as the Australian Press Council or the IFCN (contact details are included on the Corrections page linked above).

During the 12 months to August 7, 2020, one correction was made.

A minor correction was made to an article in June, 2020, after a US-based reader alerted the AAP FactCheck team to an error in a check published on June 4. The error did not relate to the verdict or the substance of the check. It related to a mistake in the report about which company merged with Disney in 2019. The initial report incorrectly said Disney had merged with Warner Brothers. This was corrected to state, accurately, that Disney merged with Fox. This correction is noted and explained in an Editor’s Note at the bottom of the story: https://www.aap.com.au/simpsons-images-of-george-floyd-are-a-tribute-not-a-prediction-from-a-past-show/

Furthermore, an update was made in November, 2019, to address an issue raised by a member of the public about the findings of a March, 2019 factcheck. The check was of a statement about koala populations by a political candidate. The complainant contacted AAP Factcheck in April 2019 to dispute pre-European settlement koala population statistics used by AAP FactCheck in reaching its verdict. This matter received extensive consideration. The statistics were accepted by a parliamentary inquiry, and were considered reliable by AAP FactCheck. In November 2019, following further correspondence with the complainant, an update was issued to the article to include some additional information which added context but did not alter the verdict. The complainant raised the matter with AAP Standards Committee, which dismissed all four elements of the complaint. The update to the article is noted in the Revision History at the bottom of this item: https://factcheck.aap.com.au/claims/could-koalas-become-extinct-by-2050-or-are-koala-populations-rising

Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

AAP FactCheck adheres to the Corrections policy outlined on its  website: https://www.aap.com.au/about-factcheck/#item-7

"We acknowledge receipt of any warranted, substantive complaint within one business day and initiate a review process. If further information is needed from the complainant or other sources it is requested as quickly as possible. Correction requests are brought to the attention of the FactCheck editor, who may consult with team members or senior AAP editorial staff during the review process. If a complainant is not satisfied with the AAP FactCheck editor’s decision, the complainant may refer their request for correction to the AAP Standards committee, or external bodies such as the Australian Press Council or the IFCN (contact details are included on the Corrections page linked above)."

During the 12 months to August 7, 2020, AAP FactCheck made one correction, according to their application.

This was a minor correction to an article in June, 2020, after a US-based reader alerted the AAP FactCheck team to an error in a check published on June 4. The error did not relate to the verdict or the substance of the check. It related to a mistake in the report about which company merged with Disney in 2019. This correction is noted and explained in an Editor’s Note at the bottom of the story: https://www.aap.com.au/simpsons-images-of-george-floyd-are-a-tribute-not-a-prediction-from-a-past-show/

An update was also made in November 2019, after a reader raised an issue about the findings of a March, 2019 fact-check. The check was of a statement about koala populations by a political candidate. The complainant contacted AAP Factcheck in April 2019 to dispute pre-European settlement koala population statistics used by AAP FactCheck in reaching its verdict.

They say: "This matter received extensive consideration. The statistics were accepted by a parliamentary inquiry and were considered reliable by AAP FactCheck. In November 2019, following further correspondence with the complainant, an update was issued to the article to include some additional information that added context but did not alter the verdict. 

The complainant raised the matter with the AAP Standards Committee, which dismissed all four elements of the complaint. The update to the article is noted in a detailed "Revision History" at the bottom of this item: https://factcheck.aap.com.au/claims/could-koalas-become-extinct-by-2050-or-are-koala-populations-rising"


done_all 6.3 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 6.4
Proof you meet criteria
If you are an existing signatory, please provide a link to show where on your site you inform users that if they believe you are violating the IFCN Code, they may inform the IFCN of this, with a link to the complaints page on the IFCN site.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

A link to the IFCN Code of Principles and the IFCN complaint policy can be found on our Corrections page: https://www.aap.com.au/about-factcheck/#item-7

Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

AAP FactCheck is a signatory of the International Fact-Checking Network, and as such, is bound by the IFCN Code of Principles. If you believe AAP has breached the IFCN Code of Principles, you may submit a complaint here. ("Here" links to: https://www.ifcncodeofprinciples.poynter.org/complaints-policy)

There is also a link to IFCN's Code of Principles https://bit.ly/3gc8O11



done_all 6.4 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

Criteria 6.5
Proof you meet criteria
If you are the fact-checking unit of a media company, please provide a link to the parent media company’s honest and open corrections policy and provide evidence that it adheres to this.

Australian Associated Press
22-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

AAP's corrections policy is outlined in our Code of Practice: https://www.aap.com.au/about-us/#item-2

AAP's Standards Committee routinely monitors all responses to requests for corrections to ensure they align with our code of conduct as well as community standards. Standards reports twice yearly, and its latest report to the editorial executive was lodged on July 31 - noting no corrections policy breaches.

3. Corrections

3.1. Inaccuracies or suspected inaccuracies which affect the integrity of stories on our wires must be dealt with promptly.

3.2. When we acknowledge an inaccuracy, a correction should be issued at urgent priority.

3.3. Challenges to accuracy or fairness in our stories must be referred to the News Editor or Editor. If there is serious doubt, particularly on legal grounds, we must alert subscribers to hold a story pending clarification. If such doubts are confirmed, we must advise subscribers to kill the story, issue take-down notices to internet subscribers and replace with a corrected version as soon as possible.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
18-Aug-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

AAP's corrections policy is set out in its Code of Practice (See "Corrections" - Point 3) https://www.aap.com.au/about-us/#item-2 


done_all 6.5 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.