Fact Investigation Platform (FIP)
Fact investigation platform (FIP) is a separate team of the Union of Informed Citizens NGO (UIC), that acts as an independent media outlet specialized in fact-checking journalism. FIP has a full structural and editorial independence, as well as a Code of conduct for FIP journalists․
Editor-in-chief is responsible for defining the editorial policy, approving topics, approving articles, reviewing materials, re-checking the facts contained in them, and is accountable to no one.
Editor- proofreader is responsible for proofreading the articles, replacing the editor-in-chief when necessary and is accountable to the editor in chief.
Journalists are responsible for following the news, finding topics, researching them, in cooperation with the editor-in-chief, launching the work on the topics, checking the facts, submitting articles, and are accountable to the editor-in-chief.
Video team is composed of two people, that is the Camera man and the Video editor and are accountable to the editor-in-chief.
SMM specialist is responsible for distributing content via multiple digital platforms, collecting responses, helping FIP to reach a wider audience, and is accountable to the editor in chief.
The Translation team consists of two people, that is the English translator and the Russian translator.
UIC publicly lists sources of funding for each project, including the projects that fund FIP, on its web-page: https://uic.am/en/projects and donors: https://uic.am/en/our-partners . FIP places the badges of the project donor organizations on the bottom on the main page of the website.
The Code of conduct for FIP journalists (Fact-checking commandments)
Check the authenticity of all the cited evidence and assertions, do not manipulate, do not distort the speech
Using direct speech is a MUST. Quote particularly the part that will be checked․
Editing direct speech is PROHIBITED… Use special rules in case of making reductions․
Be sure to include context … What is the topic, discussion, question within the framework of which the given statement, assertion was made․
Be sure to include background information… Additional information about the circumstances that preceded the statement․
Be sure to write all the abbreviations in full in the text when using them for the first time; indicate the abbreviation in parentheses․
Mention the positions of all persons (even Pashinyan, Ararat Mirzoyan and etc.)
In case of long videos, be sure to write the exact time and attach it to the text․
Do not use “RA” before the names of state authorities and officials․
Be sure to substantiate each statement with links. References must be from the original source (violate this rule only in extreme cases) ։
Simplify laws, legal and economic texts as much as possible and write in understandable language (we do not write for economists or lawyers)․
As you write on each topic, do a Google search for other information on the topic․
Read the full text of the documents before referring to them with a link․
DO NOT WRITE OPINIONS; NO ATTITUDE SHOULD BE SHOWN. DRY FACTS ONLY․
Policy of non-partisanship for FIP journalists
FIP.am team members are obliged to leave their political preferences behind and maintain absolute nonpartisanship during fact-checking. They shall not work or otherwise be financed by any political party or a representative of a political party.
The organization ensures this criterion by signing a non-partisanship agreement with all the newly hired team members.
Selection of claims policy
As a part of their working routine the FIP journalists regularly monitor the Armenian broadcasters, online, print and social media as well as media outlets created by the political parties and/or the Russian government or having ties with Russia (e.g. Sputnik-Armenia, Kommersant, Regnum, Ria Novosti). They identify virally disseminated content through Facebook’s advanced search tools. Moreover, the audience of Fact Investigation Platform is very active and can send allegedly fake material through a special webpage section and the Facebook page. FIP editorial team fact-checks and rates only verifiable claims and is focused on virally disseminated and harmful content and discrediting campaigns conducted in coordinated manner.
Parallel to the FIP team, the Monitoring team of the UIC is constantly monitoring the Armenian media and keeps a database of the monitoring result to which the FIP team has full access.
Every day, the responsibility of the editor of FIP is to have a briefing with the team and select materials from the monitoring database and or their own database, which may be fake or manipulative. In selecting such information from media monitoring materials and those sent by audience, the editorial staff of Fact Investigation Platform uses the following criteria:
How verifiable is the information reported by media/statements made by a source? Is it a fact or an opinion, forecast, hypothesis?
Does it involve the manipulation of facts? Does it look like half-truth and cherry-picking of facts?
How significant is an error?
How widespread is an error?
How reliable is a source?
Has a similar misinformation been spread before and could the information be part of coordinated and targeted campaigns?
How newsworthy is the story?
Verification and confirmation of facts
FIP verifies facts through open sources, sometimes it contacts the Armenian government and/or public agencies for information request.
The very first step is to determine whether a news story is unbalanced and which source is missing in it. Then, a reliable independent source is sought to check the information. Search is undertaken to find out whether a similar information was published in any other reliable media outlet.
In verifying information, Fact Investigation Platform follows FIP’s media and information literacy guidelines:
Verification of a person
Verification of web-pages
Falsification of history
Data manipulation on economy
Big data analyzation and electronic data of public institutions
Evaluation and publication (factometer rating system)
Based on fact checking results, FIP’s fact finders evaluate types of error: within a rating system of the Fact Investigation Platform, which is pretty standard: Completely true, Partly true, Without Verdict, Partly false or Completely false, Fake, Manipulative
In some cases, fact checkers evaluate propaganda methods used in a controversial material.
In preparing each article, FIP strives to provide all the sources and tools through which it has verified the allegations and facts so that our reader, going through all the references and sources, can go through the same path and verify that the article and the data we have mentioned are consistent. to reality.
Follow up and search for information about a source
When a source regularly spreads fake news or a media outlet is established without its real ownership information, a fact checker seeks additional data about the source. In the case of a media outlet, such additional data includes information about owners and funding, which is available from open sources and are verified based on the registry of the Ministry of Justice of Armenia.
In preparing an article, fact-finders follow a style guide for writing a fact-checking piece. An article is published after it has been double-checked by the editor and the proof-reader.