RMIT ABC Fact Check

Organization: RMIT ABC Fact Check
Applicant: Russell Skelton
Assessor: Raymond Joseph

Background

RMIT ABC is an interesting formal collaboration between a media house and a university, in that it combines journalistic insight and verification skills and academic research rigour. It is a model that other fact-checking organisations might consider investigating, especially start-ups and less-resourced fact-checking initiatives. I am not suggesting that they need to go the route of a formal relationship, as RMIT ABC have done. But it proves that there is great benefit in working with academics more, especially on highly technical or specialised subject fact-checks. There is also much that journalists can learn from academics about research methods and accessing relevant data bases and research. By the same token, academics can learn from journalists. I am also impressed at how this collaboration goes beyond just fact-checking and is also training fact-checkers and producing educational material.

Assessment Conclusion

The RMT ABC website needed only minor tweaks to add additional contextual information. The site is easy to navigate, informative and very transparent. I am satisfied that they are fully complaint and to recommend that IFCN approve their application.

on 07-May-2020 (1 year ago)

Raymond Joseph assesses application as Compliant

A short summary in native publishing language

RMIT ABC produces a wide and varied selection of relevant and interesting fact-checks on a regular basis. They do not focus on any single political party or politician and their research methods are consistent and even-handed. They link to their sources and documents, making it possible for users to easily follow how they arrive at a conclusion in a fact-check.

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.

RMIT ABC Fact Check
09-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
RMIT ABC Fact Check is a fact-checking internship that publishes determinations across ABC online and social media platforms. This is an application to renew accreditation with the IFCN. Attached is a confidential copy of the partnership agreement between RMIT University and the ABC for the RMIT ABC Fact Check. It provides essential background for the assessor and the IFCN Director only. It is a legally binding document that sets out the agreement, obligations and undertakings including adherence to editorial policies and complaints policies and financial contributions of both parties.   


For a public explanation please go to the "About" section on our website. It can be found here:


Website that sits inside the ABC News webpage can be found here: https://www.abc.net.au/news/factcheck/

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

RMIT ABC Fact-Check is a partnership between ABC in Australia and RMIT University. The details of the current partnership, which began in February 2020, and runs to February 2023, according to s legal agreement document supplied with this application. (They make the point that the document is confidential and supplied only for the purpose of this assessment) In terms of the agreement, fact-checks are published widely on all of ABC's social media and other channels, as well as a regular segment on the TV channel.n 

The agreement is set out in a legally binding document that sets out the obligations and undertakings of both parties, including adherence to editorial policies and complaints policies and the financial contributions of both parties. 

The fact-check section (https://ab.co/2RRwAGc) is situated within ABC's main website and is accessed via a Fact-Check tab on the Home page.

A public explanation of the relationship between ABC and RMIT can be found in an "About tab" (https://ab.co/2RUgmMn) on the fact-checking section of the site.

The following statements are relevant": "(RMIT ABC Fact Check)... is a partnership between RMIT University and the ABC combining academic excellence and the best of Australian journalism to inform the public through an independent non-partisan voice.

It is funded jointly by RMIT University and the ABC. The ABC is a publicly funded, independent media organisation, and therefore RMIT ABC Fact Check is accountable to the Australian Parliament."



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?

RMIT ABC Fact Check
09-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

A). RMIT ABC Fact Check was launched in June 2017. Previously it had existed at ABC Fact Check, which was launched in 2013. When the ABC lost funding in 2016, the fact-checking project was relaunched in a partnership between RMIT University in Melbourne and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, a publicly funded national broadcaster modelled on the BBC. It was launched because there was a clear public need. When the ABC lost funding there were numerous complaints made to the ABC and the Government about its demise. 

B). RMIT ABC Fact Check employs 9 full-time staff. Two are employed as casuals.

The positions are as follows:

1. Director

4. Researchers (Including one full-time casual) 

2. An Editor & a chief fact-checker (a casual).

1. Online Editor (Part-time).

1. Creative director.  

1. A part-time ABC presenter for TV and video segments. This position amounts to about 6 hours a week. 

C). Apart from fact-checking public statements made by policymakers, prominent individuals and pressure groups, RMIT ABC Fact Check has built an online fact-checking teaching credential for RMIT staff and students, accepts and trains interns studying media and communications, prepares social verification videos for ABC Education and is involved in a number of research projects involving searching for claims on twitter. We are multiplatform, so our fact checks are broadcast on TV, Online and on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

D). The goals are to check the accuracy of claims made with the intention of influencing the public policy in Australia and New Zealand. In 2020 Climate change (the bush fires, drought and global warming etc.) and the COVID-19 planetary pandemic are major areas of interest. Other goals include: automating data and claim search, expanding our fact-checking of social media platforms, developing more education tools for fact-checking and becoming financially independent and less reliant on our partners, The ABC and RMIT University, who are both facing significant revenue shortfalls. 

PS: for examples of our educational work please go to the following link and scroll down the page where you will see four of our recent fact-checking videos for students:

https://www.abc.net.au/education/media-literacy/questioning-media/

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

ABC originally launched its own fact-checking unit - ABC Fact-Check - in 2013. But it lost its funding in 2016 and was subsequently relaunched as a partnership with RMIT University in Melbourne in June 2017. RMIT-ABC employs nine full-time staff and two "casuals".

Of particular relevance is the fact that beyond fact-checking, the partnership has built an online fact-checking teaching resource for RMIT staff and students. It trains interns studying media and communications and also makes social verification videos for ABC Education. There are also several research projects that monitor Twitter to identify claims for possible fact-checking.

They also offer an excellent resource for fact-checking training and general media literacy https://ab.co/3bmwm1y

The goals of this partnership are to:

* check the accuracy of claims "with the intention of influencing the public policy in Australia and New Zealand". Their major current areas of interest are COVID-19 and climate change;

expanding its social media platforms;

* becoming financially independent and less reliant on The ABC and RMIT University, which are both "facing significant revenue shortfalls". 


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.

RMIT ABC Fact Check
09-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

All fact checks, fact files and factual analysis are published in the public interest with the intention of better informing the public and the policy debates that shape the nation. Much of what we check is in response to requests from the public or from contested claims for which there is no apparent clarity. Issues we checked around the recent bush fires have had not only national significance but been of international benefit. For example, our fact files on arsonists being responsible for the catastrophic bush fires circulated not only in Australia but the US and Europe. It was a falsehood perpetuated by the Murdoch media and others (especially climate change denialists) in Australia and the US.  

Files Attached
insert_drive_file Spread sheet of Fact... (23 KB)
Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

RMIT ABC Fact Check has published more than the required period fact-checks in the stipulated period. They cover a range of subjects that are in the public interest and meet the criteria required for this section.


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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Fact-checks cover a wide range of issues, politicians/political parties and claims. All claims are adjudicated by the same standards


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.

RMIT ABC Fact Check
09-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

RMIT ABC Fact Check has two sources of funding: the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and RMIT University. Both are publicly funded public institutions free and constitutionally independent of government control. The ABC is an independent broadcasting authority (Modelled on the BBC). A more detailed explanation taken from the Parliament of Australia of the ABC's role follows:  

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is the major national public broadcaster, contributing to and reflecting Australia s national identity. The ABC is an integral part of the radio, television and online production industries and the news and information media. It also plays an important role in digital broadcasting and the introduction of new media services.

Under the ABC Charter found in section 6 of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983, the Corporation is required to provide innovative and comprehensive broadcasting services of a high standard as part of the Australian broadcasting system consisting of national, commercial and community sectors and to transmit news, current affairs and entertainment programs outside Australia.

As part of its contribution to the partnership the ABC broadcasts and publishing RMIT ABC Fact Check content across all its platforms. ABC's financial contribution includes technical support estimated to be worth $A150,000 and a cash contribution of $A150,000. RMIT contributes more than double this amount in salaries for researchers, equipment and studio time. RMIT ABC Fact Check receives no other funds. 

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

RMIT ABC Fact Check has only two sources of funding. The ABC, which is modeled on the BBC. Both are independent, publicly-funded institutions. Their independence is guaranteed constitutionally. Both meet the necessary criteria to be classified as independent. 

With regards to funding, in terms of their partnership agreement, the ABC broadcasts and publishes RMIT ABC Fact Check content across all its platforms. The ABC's financial contribution is estimated to be worth $A300,00 - $150,000 in technical support plus a cash contribution of $A150,000. RMIT contributes more than double this amount in salaries for researchers, equipment and studio time.


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.

RMIT ABC Fact Check
09-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

We do not.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

As stated above RMIT Fact Check are the only two funders of their partnership. They do not receive any further funding, political or otherwise.


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.

RMIT ABC Fact Check
09-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

RMIT ABC Fact Check is bound by the editorial codes for balance, fairness and independence set down by the ABC for all editorial staff. We also are bound by the ABC independent complaints processes which are the most comprehensive in Australia. links to both can be found here:

https://about.abc.net.au/how-the-abc-is-run/what-guides-us/abc-editorial-standards/

https://about.abc.net.au/talk-to-the-abc/feedback-and-enquiries/

It is should be noted that in seven years of operating as ABC Fact Check and RMIT ABC Fact Check we have not had a single complaint upheld or a verdict changed as a result of a complaint.  

Links to 10 Fact Checks:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-18/fact-check-peter-dutton-arson-250-charged/11971454

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-15/is-arson-mostly-to-blame-for-the-bushfire-crisis/11865724

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-20/hazard-reduction-burns-bushfires/11817336

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-12/fact-check-pauline-hanson-transgender-children-census/12044974

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-06/fact-check-craig-kelly-rainfall-drought/12016214

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-29/fact-check-is-the-cfmmeu-most-unlwaful-union-in-history/11746820

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-05/fact-check-are-nsw-firefighters-facing--budget-cuts/11747396

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-20/fact-check-australia-carbon-emissions-fossil-fuel-exports/11645670

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-14/fact-check-did-high-fire-danger-indices-come-earlier-this-year/11506082

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-12/zombie-did-the-government-cut-1-point-2-billion-from-aged-care/11687258

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-08/fact-check-carbon-emissions-under-the-coalition/11662018

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-24/zombie---angus-taylor-emissions-abatement-kyoto-protocol/11630780

Please Note: The above list contains a spread of claims including some made by the Coalition government (which is in power, and therefore the claims have added significance), the Labor Party opposition, a minority party and prominent individuals and public figures. During the election, there is a requirement that both sides of politics receive equal attention in terms of minutes and time broadcast. RMIT ABC Fact Check complied with this.



Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

This, from the "About section, is clear about the non-partisanship of RMIT ABC Fact Check https://www.abc.net.au/news/factcheck/about/

"Staff of the unit is not members of political parties or activist groups.

Fact Check is an agenda-free zone; it fearlessly follows the facts no matter where they lead.

It does not seek to influence voters or push for a particular outcome or be a dispenser of "truth".

The criteria for I, II and III are all met in full. Publicly accessible details relating to these criteria can be found under the heading "Methodology" here: https://www.abc.net.au/news/factcheck/about/






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.

RMIT ABC Fact Check
09-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Under the ABC charter, (see links above), Fact Check is not permitted to pursue one side of politics and during election time RMIT ABC Fact Check must keep and an internal log showing we have checked both major parties equally. 

On our website we have posted the following: https://www.abc.net.au/news/factcheck/about/

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

This is fully explained in this link on The ABC's website https://www.abc.net.au/news/factcheck/about/

Additionally, MIT ABC Fact Check "must keep" and an internal log showing that they have checked both major parties equally.


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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Fact-checks are well- researched, there are links to sources and they follow a consistent methodology


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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Fact-checks cover a variety of subjects, are well- researched, there are links to sources and follow a consistent fact-checking methodology.


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.

RMIT ABC Fact Check
24-Apr-2020 (1 year ago)

As a condition of employment with RMIT Fact Check, staff cannot be members of a political party, public advocacy group or lobby group and are required to declare any past affiliations. If they are later found to be in violation of this criteria, employment would be automatically terminated. In seven years as the director, I have not had a single incidence of any staff member breaching or being found to be in breach of this undertaking. Fact Check is proud of the fact that determinations are agenda-free. The ABC has similar internal requirements for their employees including those working on the RMIT ABC Fact Check project.   A statement publicly confirming this has been posted to the ‘about’ section of our web site:

abc.net.au/news/factcheck/about/


RMIT ABC Fact Check
24-Apr-2020 (1 year ago)

There is no external link. 

As a condition of employment with RMIT Fact Check, staff cannot be members of a political party, public advocacy group or lobby group and are required to declare any past affiliations. If they are later found to be in violation of this criteria, employment would be automatically terminated. In seven years as the director, I have not had a single incidence of any staff member breaching or being found to be in breach of this undertaking. Fact Check is proud of the fact that determinations are agenda-free. The ABC has similar internal requirements for their employees including those working on the RMIT ABC Fact Check project.   A statement publicly confirming this has been posted to the ‘about’ section of our web site:

abc.net.au/news/factcheck/about/


Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

As a condition of employment with RMIT Fact Check, staff cannot be members of a political party, public advocacy group, or lobby group and are required to declare any past affiliations. If they are later found to be in violation of this criteria, employment would be automatically terminated. In seven years as the director, I have not had a single incidence of any staff member breaching or being found to be in breach of this undertaking. Fact Check is proud of the fact that determinations are agenda-free. The ABC has similar internal requirements for its employees including those working on the RMIT ABC Fact Check project.

The penalty for violation of these criteria is the termination of employment

Recommendation: A sentence or two stating its non-partisanship policy should be added to the "About page"



cancel 2.5 marked as Request change by Raymond Joseph.
Raymond Joseph Assessor
07-May-2020 (1 year ago)

As a condition of employment with RMIT Fact Check, staff cannot be members of a political party, public advocacy group, or lobby group and are required to declare any past affiliations. If they are later found to be in violation of this criteria, employment would be automatically terminated. In seven years as the director, I have not had a single incidence of any staff member breaching or being found to be in breach of this undertaking. Fact Check is proud of the fact that determinations are agenda-free. The ABC has similar internal requirements for its employees including those working on the RMIT ABC Fact Check project.

The penalty for violation of these criteria is the termination of employment

Recommendation: A sentence or two stating its non-partisanship policy should be added to the "About page"



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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

I have checked through a variety of published fact-checks and I am satisfied that they meet the stipulated criteria. A reader, by following the different links to sources provided with fact-checks, can check for themselves that what is being stated is accurate. This also allows the reader to assess for themselves the quality and credibility of quoted sources.


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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

I also satisfied that the sources and links used are credible and relevant. They are also non-partisan and do not push any particular agenda.


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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

I am satisfied that, wherever possible, fact-checks are not based on single sources. The depth of much of the research and the degree or sourcing is both extensive and impressive.


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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The positions/jobs of sources are clearly stated and every attempt is made to contextualise the credibility of sources - and why they are being used - especially when their position might lead to their statements and possible bias being questioned


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.

RMIT ABC Fact Check
24-Apr-2020 (1 year ago)

Fact Check has two parent organisations, RMIT University and the ABC. The sources of our funding are declared on the website, but the breakdown of the funding is confidential. I have shared this (section 1.1) confidential document in a private link to the partnership agreement.  There is a possibility that Fact Check may receive funding from JNI, a philanthropic media focused institute to assist with the CoronaCheck newsletter, but at the time of this application that is yet to be finalised. 

RMIT ABC Fact Check
24-Apr-2020 (1 year ago)

Fact Check has two parent organisations, RMIT University and the ABC. The sources of our funding are declared on the website, but the breakdown of the funding is confidential. I have shared this (section 1.1) confidential document in a private link to the partnership agreement.  There is a possibility that Fact Check may receive funding from JNI, a philanthropic media focused institute to assist with the CoronaCheck newsletter, but at the time of this application that is yet to be finalised. 

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

While RMIT ABC Fact-Check has shared a confidential agreement between themselves as a  - the only two sources of funding they currently have - have its two sources of funding. They refer to their partnership here but do not disclose the extent of the funding each party contributes.

In the "About" section it states: "...is a partnership between RMIT University and the ABC combining academic excellence and the best of Australian journalism to inform the public through an independent non-partisan voice.

It is funded jointly by RMIT University and the ABC. The ABC is a publicly funded, independent media organisation, and therefore RMIT ABC Fact Check is accountable to the Australian Parliament. https://ab.co/2RUgmMn

Recommendation: the basic details and amounts involved should be spelled out in the "About" section for purposes of transparency. But, reading between the lines, there is clearly some sensitivity about disclosing this and it is up to the IFCN board to decide how to proceed on this matter.


cancel 4.1 marked as Request change by Raymond Joseph.
Raymond Joseph Assessor
07-May-2020 (1 year ago)

While RMIT ABC Fact-Check has shared a confidential agreement between themselves as a  - the only two sources of funding they currently have - have its two sources of funding. They refer to their partnership here but do not disclose the extent of the funding each party contributes.

In the "About" section it states: "...is a partnership between RMIT University and the ABC combining academic excellence and the best of Australian journalism to inform the public through an independent non-partisan voice.

It is funded jointly by RMIT University and the ABC. The ABC is a publicly funded, independent media organisation, and therefore RMIT ABC Fact Check is accountable to the Australian Parliament. https://ab.co/2RUgmMn

Recommendation: the basic details and amounts involved should be spelled out in the "About" section for purposes of transparency. But, reading between the lines, there is clearly some sensitivity about disclosing this and it is up to the IFCN board to decide how to proceed on this matter.


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.

RMIT ABC Fact Check
09-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
RMIT ABC Fact Check sits in a family of ABC sites and can be accessed via the news online crossbar:


https://www.abc.net.au/news/justin/

From there you can click through to RMIT ABC Fact Check which land you here:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/factcheck/about/

ABC online also publishes the results of all complaints and determinations (including those made about RMIT ABC Fact Check) here:

https://search-beta.abc.net.au/#/?query=complaints%20&page=1&configure%5BgetRankingInfo%5D=true&configure%5BclickAnalytics%5D=true&configure%5BuserToken%5D=anonymous-b287ee03-5bfe-4577-854c-f020b389b2cb&configure%5Banalytics%5D=true

Instructions on how to lodge a complaint can be found here:

https://about.abc.net.au/talk-to-the-abc/feedback-and-enquiries/complaints-process/

Because fact check is part of a large online news site the complaints are all handled in a single process. For the record, we receive complaints and queries which must be processed.  


Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

RMIT ABC Fact Check "is a partnership between RMIT University and the ABC combining academic excellence and the best of Australian journalism to inform the public through an independent non-partisan voice.

It is funded jointly by RMIT University and the ABC. The ABC is a publicly funded, independent media organisation, and therefore RMIT ABC Fact Check is accountable to the Australian Parliament." https://www.abc.net.au/news/factcheck/about/ 

It is also clear that it is part of The ABC as the fact-checking section is accessed via a "fact-check" tab on (The ABC's) homepage https://www.abc.net.au/news/justin/


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.

RMIT ABC Fact Check
09-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

This video which in on our website explains our processes and line of responsibility.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-23/explainer:-how-does-rmit-abc-fact-check-find-and/9183264


Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

This short and simple to understand video explains how claims are selected for fact-checking, the process that follows and who is involved in pre-publication decision making. I urge ICFN to share this link with its members as some might consider doing something similar.

There is also a simple explanation of the process and those involved under a "Methodology heading "in the "About" section https://ab.co/2RUgmMn


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.

RMIT ABC Fact Check
09-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

For all our biographies please go to the RMIT ABC Fact Check team section and scroll through.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/factcheck/about/


Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Detailed biographies and photographs of all of RMIT ABC Fact-Check are available under a 'The RMIT ABC Fact Check team" heading at this link: https://ab.co/2RUgmMn


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.

RMIT ABC Fact Check
09-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

We have a dedicated page for complaints and communication. It can be found here:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/factcheck/contact/ 


Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

It is made simple to submit a claim or contest the verdict of a fact-check via a "Contact" tab on the RMIT ABC Fact Check page https://ab.co/3bvfjdI


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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The way claims are selected and fact-checked is clearly explained under a "Methodology"  heading on the "About" page https://ab.co/2RUgmMn This video also explain the fact-checking process used https://ab.co/2yCPGZD


done_all 5.1 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.

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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

I have checked a sample of fact-checks and all follow the stated methodology


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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

All relevant sources for claims are included in fact-checks. This includes, in some cases, links to credible sources that might have state contradictory information or different research findings


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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

I am satisfied that this criterion is met by RMIT ABC Fact-Check in the selection of fact-checks that I have scrutinised


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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

I am satisfied that this criterium is met by RMIT ABC Fact-Check in the fact-checks that I have scrutinised.


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.

RMIT ABC Fact Check
24-Apr-2020 (1 year ago)

We have a direct link for people to contact RMIT ABC Fact Check. It can be found here:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/factcheck/contact/

It should be noted that people can also email us directly... and they do. Our email address 'factcheck@rmit.edu.au' is included at the foot of every online post.

Detailed information about what can be checked and what cannot can be found on our about page:

abc.net.au/news/factcheck/about/

RMIT ABC Fact Check
24-Apr-2020 (1 year ago)

We have a direct link for people to contact RMIT ABC Fact Check. It can be found here:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/factcheck/contact/

It should be noted that people can also email us directly... and they do. Our email address 'factcheck@rmit.edu.au' is included at the foot of every online post.

Detailed information about what can be checked and what cannot can be found on our about page:

abc.net.au/news/factcheck/about/

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

I am unable to find where RMIT ABC stipulates what they can and can't fact-check. 

Recommendation

This information should be added either on the "About" page or on the "Contact" page where people are invited to submit claims for fact-checking

This FactCheckNI guide on what can and can't be fact-checked is a useful guide:

"Claims that are researched by FactCheckNI are done so only with publicly available sources. In order for FactCheckNI to research a claim, the claim must be:

a statement made in public, which can be attributed to a specific person (e.g. a politician or campaigner) or organisation (e.g. a report)

an assertion or allegation that can be validated or refuted (to a degree)

based on past or present actions (i.e. not speculative about the future)



cancel 5.6 marked as Request change by Raymond Joseph.
Raymond Joseph Assessor
07-May-2020 (1 year ago)

I am unable to find where RMIT ABC stipulates what they can and can't fact-check. 

Recommendation

This information should be added either on the "About" page or on the "Contact" page where people are invited to submit claims for fact-checking

This FactCheckNI guide on what can and can't be fact-checked is a useful guide:

"Claims that are researched by FactCheckNI are done so only with publicly available sources. In order for FactCheckNI to research a claim, the claim must be:

a statement made in public, which can be attributed to a specific person (e.g. a politician or campaigner) or organisation (e.g. a report)

an assertion or allegation that can be validated or refuted (to a degree)

based on past or present actions (i.e. not speculative about the future)


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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

This is included in the RMIT ABC "About page" https://ab.co/2RUgmMn

"Our aim is to be 100 percent accurate. But if a mistake is made, the item in question will be corrected and if necessary the verdict revised.

Statements can be both right and wrong, depending on when they were said. Determinations are therefore based on evidence available at the time."

It also states: "If an audience member believes a fact check does not meet our high standards for rigour and accuracy, they can lodge a complaint through the ABC." A link to the complaints page is provided. https://ab.co/2XWbTwE 


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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Our aim is to be 100 percent accurate. But if a mistake is made, the item in question will be corrected and if necessary the verdict revised.

This from the "About page"

Our aim is to be 100 percent accurate. But if a mistake is made, the item in question will be corrected and if necessary the verdict revised.

Statements can be both right and wrong, depending on when they were said. Determinations are therefore based on evidence available at the time."

Recommendation

This information about what RMIT ABC can and can't fact-check should be added either on the "About" page or on the "Contact" page where people are invited to submit claims for fact-checking



cancel 6.2 marked as Request change by Raymond Joseph.
Raymond Joseph Assessor
07-May-2020 (1 year ago)

Our aim is to be 100 percent accurate. But if a mistake is made, the item in question will be corrected and if necessary the verdict revised.

This from the "About page"

Our aim is to be 100 percent accurate. But if a mistake is made, the item in question will be corrected and if necessary the verdict revised.

Statements can be both right and wrong, depending on when they were said. Determinations are therefore based on evidence available at the time."

Recommendation

This information about what RMIT ABC can and can't fact-check should be added either on the "About" page or on the "Contact" page where people are invited to submit claims for fact-checking


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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The applicant has not filled in this section but in another part of this application it is stated: 

"It is should be noted that in seven years of operating as ABC Fact Check and RMIT ABC Fact Check we have not had a single complaint upheld or a verdict changed as a result of a complaint."

The ABC has a page dedicated to "Corrections and Clarifications"  https://ab.co/2XZp9Re


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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

From the "About" page: "RMIT ABC Fact Check is a signatory (hyperlink provided on page)  to the International Fact-Checking Network's code of principles ((hyperlink provided on page). The IFCN has an independent complaints process ((hyperlink provided on page) for readers who believe a fact-checking organisation has violated the code.


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.

Raymond Joseph Assessor
20-Apr-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Details of ABC corrections policy and corrections that have been made can be found here: https://www.abc.net.au/news/corrections/

Corrections policy:

The ABC is committed to delivering content that engages, informs and entertains.

We are also committed to upholding our editorial standards, including accuracy, impartiality and independence.

That means if mistakes are made, we aim to correct or clarify them quickly and transparently.

We always aim to provide these corrections or clarifications on the enduring record for the content — ie, on the program webpage or the online news story.

Where there is no enduring record, or where the correction or clarification is considered significant, an entry will be made on this page.

This page lists relevant corrections and clarifications made to ABC content across our radio, television and digital platforms, whether as a result of complaints or for any other reason.

Wherever possible, we will also provide links to the content itself, so you can see the original material and the changes that have been made.


done_all 6.5 marked as Compliant by Raymond Joseph.