Aiming to check the correctness of the politicians’ announcements “Fakt Yoxla” (Fact Check) monitors the statements of the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, members of the Government as well as public figures. It oversees the sessions of the Parliament too. Additionally, “Fakt Yoxla” (Fact Check) offers the creative service – Check Your Fact giving the public an opportunity to check the facts that they are interested in.
“Fakt Yoxla” is a politically autonomous and nonpartisan venture. The working process and the strategy of fact checking are complex; before being broadcasted on the site, the research/article pass through a few major stages.
One of “Fakt Yoxla”'s goals is to contribute to objective and fair journalism. “Fakt Yoxla” uses the same standard for every fact check according to methodology. It does not concentrate its fact-checking on any one side. It follows the same process for every fact check and let the evidence dictate the conclusions. There is a clear obligation for fact-checkers to be objective and follow rules of methodology while writing an article. They have to keep their prejudices out of every article and only look at the real facts. Every article is checked by the team to avoid the risk of any individual point of view. Team members are not allowed to contribute or be members of any political party or advocacy organisation to refrain any potential conflict of interest.
Firstly, the “Fakt Yoxla” team monitors permanently the statement of public figures which have been published on different media organs. Fakt Yoxla regularly follows and monitors the flow of trends in social media and the statements made by public figures. During the monitoring process, each member of the monitoring group individually finds out and indicates the statements with public importance. While selecting the claims, the priority is given to the claims that may pose a serious threat towards the public health, democratic governance, as well as, that may lead to manipulation of the public opinion regarding the political, legal, economic, COVID-19 related issues. The targets are tv channels that are directly and indirectly funded from the state budget (including private TV), news websites that broadcast in Azerbaijan and are ranked in the top 100 by reliable rating agencies, and materials that published on social media accounts with more than 10,000 followers.
Fakt Yoxla strictly selects the contents in terms of public importance, regardless of the status and/or position of the person who made this particular claim. Furthermore, we should mention that, Fakt Yoxla is not checking the judgemental and/or personal sentiments of any politician over the facts and societal issues, as we are primarily dealing with the checking facts themselves.
“Fakt Yoxla” evaluates the statements not due to the prominence of the author but according to the relevance of the information voiced in the statement. It is also significant to mention that we do not fact check the evaluative statements of the politicians or their individual views on any particular matter.
After the fundamental topics of research are selected the team members gather again and every individual member of the team introduces the recorded statements to the rest of the team. Subsequently, the most interesting and verifiable statements of the compiled list are chosen by the fact checkers together with the group leaders. After the chosen statements are appointed to different team members of “Fakt Yoxla” start the actual work on the articles/researches.
In the course of the research, “Fakt Yoxla” use multiple open sources as well as interview different public figures and experts of various fields. Another important point of our research is the public information requested from the government agencies. When it needs “Fakt Yoxla” address immediately the authors of the statement or their representatives in order to find out specific aspects of the claim made in the statement or to inquire about the source used by the politician.
After collecting of all possible data on the topics the fact checker concludes the article applying suitable Fact-Meter scale. After each article is reviewed meticulously by the project director and the coordinator the author adds final touches and wraps up the article. The research is considered to be complete when it shows no signs of partisanship and leaves no questions to the reader. Finally, the article is published on the website.
Fact checking process creates opportunity us to make mistake sometimes. Therefore, in case, if the politicians whose statements were checked by “Fakt Yoxla” (or any other reader) do not agree with our research and verdict, “Fakt Yoxla” offers them to send the suitable argumentation in a written form. The received proofs will be closely analysed by the “Fakt Yoxla” members and in case of their validity, we will revise or amend our research as well as the verdict accordingly.
If a important piece of information is added to the research/article but the addition does not cause a change of the verdict, we revise our article; however, if the added piece of information changes the issued verdict the article is corrected. This practice serves the purpose of ensuring maximum objectivity and political impartiality in “Fakt Yoxla”’s work.
You can read correction policy here.
“Fakt Yoxla” aims to rate the correctness of statements made by the politicians on issues which are most interesting and relevant for the Azerbaijan public. Every article is concluded with a respective ruling on the Fact-Meter scale.
“Fakt Yoxla”’s ratings for the factual accuracy of the statements are as follows:
True – The statement is accurate and there is nothing significant missing;
Mostly True – The statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information;
Half True – The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context;
Mostly False – The statement contains some element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression;
False – The statement is not accurate;
Lie – The statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim.
Annual statistics on indicators is based on the formula which calculates the average statistical value among authors with at least three statements.
The respective coefficients for the indicators "Lie", "False", "Mostly False", "Half-True", "Mostly True" and "True" are -3, -2, -1, 1, 2 and 3.
Depending on the indicators in each article, the coefficients are aggregated for each of authors, and at the end of the year, the mathematical formula is used to find the average statistical value by dividing the coefficients collected during the year by the number of the author's statements.
The author with the highest average statistical value is defined as the truthful author of the year, and the author with the lowest statistic is chosen as the liar of the year.
The "fact manipulation" indicator is calculated separately and is selected according to the number of authors with at least three manipulative statements per year.
Process/terms of the work on the article
- Each month three articles should be prepared by a member of FactCheck team (in case of having enough topics);
- During three days the article should be finished. The counting starts by the second day of receiving the topic (if checking the fact is reachable via online-resources. If fact-checker has to write two or three articles, the time prolong to six and nine days, proportionately);
- If finishing the article demands an interview with the author of the statement or an expert in the field. During 5 days, the article should be finished (note: while working on the article, interviews and informational meetings with experts are important roughly in each case);
- If the conclusion of the article demands access to public information, after receiving the article , the letter should be sent by the author in the shortest time possible. The fact-checker periodically contacts the public institution where he/she send the letter and defines the expected waiting time for the requested information. After accepting the public information, the concluding time of the article is two days;
- After accepting the fact for verification, the fact-checker should show a daily basis, on which stage is the article (i.e. “today I analyzed these statistical data”, “looked into this study”, “expecting an answer from a public institution”, “waiting for an interview with an expert”, “attended this meeting”, “the article is finished, is located in the respective folder” etc.);
- If fact-checker cannot finish working on the article on time, and there is no objective reason for not being able to finish the article, the fact-checker will subject to appropriate sanctions;
- While beginning working on the article, the author has obligation to inform (via phone communication or e-mail) the author of the statement (politician) that his/her statement is being fact-checked and also, if significant, demand to specify the fact;
- if there is difficulty to finish article and significant issues are not covered the fact-checker should contact other media outlets, media outlets, NGOs, politicians, representatives of press-services, and let them have an information on results of the research and request aid finding information.