Fact-checking journalism is the heart of MakeDigitalIndian. Our core principles are independence, transparency, fairness, thorough reporting and clear writing. The reason we publish is to give citizens the information they need to govern themselves in a democracy.We care about being perfectly clear and precise with words, headlines, and URLs and understand that words have the utmost power and act accordingly. Writers under MakeDigitalIndian must verify the information they gather and write at all times. This includes identifying information such as names, locations, factual statements and accounts related to the content. Writers do their own fact-checking using their own judgment and information under the light of our Ethics Policy. MakeDigitalIndian is ready to and will use fact-checkers both online and within the editorial team in certain circumstances if need be. We are committed to non-partisanship, transparency of sources, transparency of funding, and being open to reasonable criticism and corrections in our organization. We check the information with all related parties before publishing it online.We prefer to use unbiased information and data sources viewed by our equals, as much as possible. We also alert our readers that information and data from sources, such as political advocacy organizations and sided parties, should be evaluated considerately.
If we receive a claim regarding fact-checking on our website, we first contact the source of the claim for further elaboration and supporting information. We also contact individuals and organizations who would have more information about or have relevant experience on the subject at hand, as well as researching relevant literature (news articles, scientific and medical journal articles, books, interview transcripts, statistical sources) that has bearing on the topic.
Depending upon the nature and complexity of the topic, other members of the editorial staff may contribute additional research and changes to the writers’ work, and the final product will pass through the hands of our editors. Any piece that is not deemed up to our standards by one or more editors is subject to further revision and review before being released for publication.
What Kind Of Stories Do We Cover?
The Fact Check team at MakeDigitalIndian is always on the lookout for any news/social media posts where false information has been shared as a fact, or correct information is being shared as incorrect. A few examples of posts we take up are:
- Information being shared against or in favour of political parties/leaders which appear untrue.
- Misinformation on health or even related to business/economy.
- Posts by Facebook pages/twitter handles spreading hate using fake information
Messages from our readers, who mail us anything which looks suspicious.
- Scams/Rumours which can cause fear or panic amongst people.
- We verify claims made by politicians/people in important governmental positions in India
Where Do We Get Our News From?
Anywhere and everywhere! From WhatsApp forwards to Prime Time debates, we have many sources. We go through social media, messaging platforms and mainstream print and audio visual media to get our stories. Some of the most prominent sources are WhatsApp forwards, profiles of trolls and politicians as well as trending hashtags. We are also active on Facebook,Instagram and Twitter from where we get many of our stories.
Our community members can reach out to us at contact@ MakeDigitalIndian.com, if they want to get any information verified.
How Do We Bust Fake News?
On finding something suspicious, we
- Use tools such as Google and Yandex Reverse Image Search and Photograph Exif Tools among others.
- Search the internet using various search filters (date, time etc.) to arrive at the origin of posts and messages circulating on the internet.
- We contact people who could have links with a particular event, from a common man to a person in authority.
- Consult experts in particular fields related to the story to verify the claims, such as doctors for a fact check on health issues. Conclusions are also written based on their findings and recommendations.
What After The Story Is Published?
In case there are any changes to be made with respect to developments, the team makes sure to update the story with the relevant information, along with the previous claims. An apology could also be issued in case of any mistake.
Sourcing of Information
Depending on the fake information we are fact-checking, the source depends on that. For example, for a story that requires only a google search and there are multiple sources to verify, we use credible media to support the information.
For data story especially claims made by political leaders or parties, we check government websites or survey done by reputed agency, think tank or research group.For fact-check on health claims, we reach out to experts.
MakeDigitalIndian fact-check team takes all effort to ensure that any of the information that goes live is verified. We endeavour to be promptly responsive in correcting errors in material published on our platform. When we run a correction, clarification on our social media handles or share an editor’s note, our goal is to tell readers, as clearly and quickly as possible, what was wrong and what is correct. Anyone should be able to understand how and why a mistake has been corrected.
Updating a Report
We make it a practice to put notes on stories if a story has been updated. It is important for us to use a correction or clarification to inform readers whenever we correct a significant mistake or edit a story to include comments, updates from a stakeholder.
For typos, numerical, grammar, and minor factual corrections, update the post. There is no need to note the change.
For corrections to or the addition of substantive facts that meaningfully change the story, a correction notice should be placed at the end of the article after the story has been updated. You should also get approval from your Deputy Editor. Once the correction has been made, notice of the correction should be sent to all.
When our journalism is factually correct but the language we used to explain those facts is not as clear or detailed as it should be, the language is rewritten and a clarification added to the story. A clarification is also used to note if we initially failed to seek a comment or response that has since been added to the story.
Other Corrections Policies
When an error is found by a reader and posted to the comment stream, our community engagement team can indicate in comments that it has been corrected. When we publish erroneous information on social networks, we correct it on that platform. We retract the incorrect information if we cannot alter it.
If you believe a story we have published is inaccurate, please suggest corrections on contact@MakeDigitalIndian.com. We also request our community members to send the correction at contact@MakeDigitalIndian.com.
Transparency of Funding
We are currently bootstrapped and generate revenue through online ads and sponsored articles. But we ensure that these articles are not at the cost of your reading experience. We promote limited and only socially relevant ads, and all such content is tagged as ‘Sponsored’ to clearly distinguish it from a regular article on the website.
As a digital media platform, MakeDigitalIndian strives to achieve the highest standard of journalism. In pursuance of the same standard, MakeDigitalIndian has clear policy to not take donation, investment or grants from a political party or any individual leader representing a political party.
MakeDigitalIndian including its fact-checking team has a stringent policy for its employees to not be part of any political party, think tanks associated with political parties, advocacy groups or NGOs which are affiliated with political parties. Employees aren’t allowed to support even independent political candidates which might put question marks on the credibility of the individual or the organisation. Employees are expected to not be partisan while expressing their political views in public and that is reflected through our social media policy which is applicable to not just the editorial team but everyone part of the company. Disciplinary actions are taken in case of violation depending on the impact of the act.