Cekfakta.com Playbook ID

Basic Principles

A number of basic principles have been agreed upon as the joint commitment of every media outlet and institution within the CekFakta.com collaborative network. The principles were decided following a series of consecutive meetings and discussions prior to the launching of CekFakta.com at the Trusted Media Summit in May 2018.

It should be acknowledged that the collaboration’s basic principles have been largely inspired by the ones adopted by the International Fact Checking Network (IFCN), an international fact-checking network initiated by the Poynter Institute. At least six media and institutions in Indonesia had received IFCN certification. The certification indicates that the media or institution’s commitment to and implementation of the basic fact-checking principles have been assessed and found to have met IFCN criteria.

The first principle the network agreed upon was non-partisanship and fairness. The principle is particularly important in the context of fact-checking in the run up to the 2019 general election. We did not wish to be accused of being a part of the campaign of any of the candidates running for office. To be trusted by the public, CekFakta.com should not be seen as biased, cherry picking, or non-independent.

The commitment was reflected on the live fact-checking events organized by CekFakta.com during the presidential and vice-presidential debates before the 2019 presidential election. At our preparatory meeting, we agreed to make sure that the number of statements to be fact-checked and the results were free from bias, to avoid the impression of partisanship with one of the candidates.

Of course, in practice this was not easy to do. The presidential and vice-presidential candidates made many statements that had to be fact-checked. Once we started fact-checking these statements, we could not decide whether to label them as false, true or half false.

We therefore decided to invite a panel of multidisciplinary experts to help in checking the facts made during the presidential and vice-presidential debates. The experts and academicians contributed to minimizing potential bias in the fact-checking process.

Furthermore, we agreed that on our social media campaigns we would present the fact-checking findings in a balanced fashion for all of the candidates. In this way, we hoped to ensure that the public would not get the wrong impression about the impartiality of our fact-checking process.

The second principle is transparency of information source and fact-checking mechanism and method. In each fact-checking article, we agreed to disclose our methods before presenting the conclusion. Even though this results in longer and more detailed articles, the mentioning of method and source of information is a globally accepted standard of fact-checking. This is the only way we could build public trust in our fact-checking content.

The third principle is transparency regarding organization and financing. Again, this is tied to our effort to build public trust in our fact-checking content. We cannot have the public receive only partial information about the owner of the fact-checking organization or media, their business model, and source of financing. It would better serve our purpose to be transparent about this information as proof of our integrity and independence as fact-checkers.

The fourth principle is a speedy and accountable correction mechanism. Fact-checkers are not angels who never make a mistake. They might overlook sources or make the wrong analysis in their fact-checking process. These things happen and a response mechanism must be made to address the issue.

At CekFakta.com, we decided to adopt the correction model recommended by the Press Council. Essentially, when we receive any report of inaccuracy in our content, or when we identify one ourselves despite getting no public complaint, then a correction and apology must be issued immediately.

The abovementioned four principles, while seemingly simple, play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity and sustainability of CekFakta.com network. The principles basically reflect the values inherent in the adoption of journalistic code of ethics. The universal code of ethics that applies to every journalist emphasizes the importance of independence, presenting only the truth or facts, and minimizing the risk of damage from a particular report.

Specifically for fact-checkers, in addition to independence, factual reporting and risk mitigation, another equally important principle is transparency. In the face of skepticism

from a polarized public, the only way to build public trust is to be as transparent as possible. Only through transparency our integrity as independent fact-checkers may win the public trust. (*)


CekFakta.com Basic Principles
  • Non-partisanship and fairness.
  • Transparency of information source and fact-checking method.
  • Transparency and honesty about organization finances and structure.
  • Being prepared to speedily and accountably correct any errors.