Fact-Checking Policy

Spot News 18 (from now on referred to as “Spot News 18” / “We” / “Us” / “Our”) would like to inform you about the care and caution that We take to ensure due to accuracy of Our content, which is addressed by Our Fact-Checking Policy.

Due to accuracy in all Our content

For any journalistic platform, the trust of its audience is the most critical aspect. Trust can only be gained and sustained based on accurate, fair and balanced reporting. We must remain committed to attaining due accuracy in all Our content to the extent possible.

Our understanding of ‘due accuracy’ is that accuracy is not just of the requisite standard but also satisfactory. We also consider the subject and nature of the information being provided, the audience’s expectations, etc. We also believe these in pursuit of due accuracy.

We strive to give the most accurate account, which is corroborated by the direct stakeholders of the news in every single news report. We investigate claims with scepticism, question assumptions, and challenge conventional wisdom. We acknowledge areas of uncertainty, which will always exist despite Our best efforts to resolve them.

However, the stringency required to fact-check the information on soft and hard stories differ. For example, sources, as necessary for a favourable report on an NGO work, would vary from investigative.

We adhere to the guidance hereinbelow to ensure accuracy in Our content:

We provide that any broadcast by Us is derived from a reliable source, based on concrete and corroborated evidence. In case of a lack of direct sources, We are mandated to attribute the stories to the platform from where it is sourced.

We endeavour to verify any claims or allegations, or information attributed to public authorities or from someone we believe has a cause beyond just giving an account of the truthfulness of the event. Therefore, We qualify and call out such information, including claims or allegations, which we cannot corroborate.

We stand by the information. We publish and deem it to be accurate. If proven otherwise, We change the news item/information as swiftly as possible. We ensure that we inform Our readers of the changes made in such news item/information.

We understand that Our audiences’ trust in Us is of utmost significance. Therefore, our endeavour is that We do not consciously misinform anyone and do not tweak any information or present any made-up information as factual content. Further, where serious factual errors come to the fore, We publicly accept them and ensure that they are rectified in the shortest time possible clearly and appropriately.

We ensure that a fair opportunity is given to the public to report any inaccuracies or errors on Our Website via the “Suggest A Correction” segment provided at the end of all Our reportage presented and published on Our Website.

The foremost responsibility of Our journalists’ is to report, write, and fact-check the news/information/stories. Our stories are subjected to scrutiny on multiple levels, including a robust fact-check internal procedure wherein thorough due diligence is carried out on every piece and further reviewed by one or more of Our editors.

It needs to be specified that the seniority of editors who undertake a review of the stories preceding their publication on the Website differs and depends on various factors such as complexity and sensitivity of the issue and the pressure of time.

In case of an allegation, We ensure to reach out to all the concerned parties. We then independently verify the information in question and the provided information to achieve the most accurate result.

Sourcing Information for Our content

We source information most accurately by following the given guidelines:

Verify every piece of information with at least two sources.

In the case of a single source, the source’s credibility is ensured through corroboration with what the person is saying.

Look for documentary evidence in every case possible instead of solely relying on a human source.

In the case of a survey, we must provide the way the information was collected and how the data was interpreted. If there are chances of Our data not leading to accurate information, We convey the inconsistencies to the audience at the earliest possible time.

Aim and intent are to get accurate information first instead of making it public first and subsequently addressing any doubts.

Always put efforts to take and talk on the record with the stakeholders of the information/news. Explain why a source is not named when an anonymous source is being used, depending on the circumstances. Work out a way with such sources to provide the readers with as much information as possible to assess the sources’ reliability.

Share information about sources with Our editors to enable them (editors and reporters) to assess whether the concerned piece of information is appropriate for use and how it may be used. The conversation between the reporter and editor must be reflected in anonymous quotations.

Have brief conversations with sources about how to use the information furnished by them, especially when they do not have significant experience in engaging with the media. Clarify a source’s expectations of keeping information “off the record”, and/or “on background”, and/or other statuses because such terms can have different meanings for different people.

Give people the right to respond to reporting that may portray them negatively, and explain to readers the efforts We put in to seek a response in cases where sources do not respond.

Consciously seek such sources who are in dearth of access to comprehensive public platforms in conjunction with those influential and powerful sources.

A senior resource or the person heading the newsroom at Spot News 18 can always be consulted if one is in a dilemma or cannot decide by themselves to avoid any wrong piece of information being presented to the audience.

User-Generated Content

User-generated content possesses inherent challenges. We do not assume that the material shared with Us is accurate and, depending on how We plan to use it, We take reasonable steps to verify the integrity of such content.

We are mindful of employing information supplied by a member of a lobby group or anyone with a vested interest in the story rather than a disinterested bystander. We ensure that user-generated content is identified as such. Additionally, We follow the given guidelines:

Sources of information that may seem reliable on the internet may not always be duly accurate. It may be necessary to check who is running the Website and/or confirm with an individual or organisation that the material relevant to them is genuine.

Care is taken to distinguish fact from rumour. This is mainly but not exclusively valid for material available on social media where distortions may be deliberate or unintended but where error or rumour can spread like wildfire within minutes among the audience worldwide. At the same time, corrections find it much harder to achieve the same momentum.

Additional scrutiny may be necessary where material from a social media site or other internet source is being used to corroborate a fact. We qualify and call out all material that we did not gather.