FactCheck.lk follows a consistent process when selecting and checking claims to ensure transparency. As an independent body, FactCheck.lk endeavours to select claims from individuals affiliated with all political parties, without disproportionate focus on any one party. Verdicts are decided on after research is carried out. All verdicts are accompanied by a detailed explanation of the available data and the logic that support them.
To select a statement, FactCheck.lk follows the following steps:
- Sri Lankan media is monitored for all fact-based statements attributed to high-level decision makers in public office. FactCheck.lk hires external monitors to monitor the media for us.
- FactCheck.lk also collects statements submitted by the public through the website’s “Submit a Claim” box.
- Statements are then filtered and selected for fact checking based on availability of data, public relevance and importance and educational value.
- In choosing statements to fact check, the team is guided, amongst other things, by:
- the subject area/theme of the statement
- the current nature and direction of public discourse on the subject; and
- the potential value that the fact check will add to the discussion.
Unfortunately, as the team is constrained by time and resources, it cannot fact check all statements that meet the above criteria.
Research and Writing
FactCheck.lk does not endorse any political parties or candidates and maintains a policy of being non-partisan and objective in the assessment and dissemination of its fact checks. In the process followed to maintain neutrality, the production of each fact check involves the participation of at least three individuals from a pool of at least ten.
See below for detailed steps taken.
Once a statement is selected, the following steps are undertaken:
- The article the statement came from is read in full to establish context
- The accuracy of reporting on the statement is independently verified.
- If the statement was not in English, it is translated and independently reviewed to ensure the accuracy of the translation.
- An expert researcher in the relevant area collects all available data on the topic, consulting publicly available documentation from official sources, such as the Central Bank of Sri Lanka or government ministries.
- Using the latest publicly available data, the argument presented by the claim is evaluated by at least three members of the team.
- Based on the data and evaluation, the claim is given a verdict of True, Partly True, False, or Blatantly False. Definitions of these verdicts are given here.
- A detailed fact check is written language by a member of the team and reviewed for data, logic by the advisory board.
- The fact check is published across all platforms.
FactCheck.lk wants readers to be able to replicate any fact check themselves. When checking a claim, FactCheck.lk uses the latest publicly available data. Sources for all data used in a fact check are both mentioned in the written fact check and cited in detail, with a link provided whenever available.
When selecting sources, priority is given to the local government sources. If government sources are not available or relevant to the selected claim, FactCheck.lk will find alternative sources and evaluate the methodology and credibility of each source individually prior to including it. These alternative sources could include official international data from credible organizations, data from credible local think tanks and research organisations, etc.
In the instances in which FactCheck.lk has used information that was not publicly available the relevant data along with the sources is provided within the platform itself. This has occurred when FactCheck.lk used data that other organisations gained by filing an RTI request to the government, and in these cases FactCheck.lk made the relevant data available to the public, along with the published fact check.
News media is never used as an official source to verify a claim.