Fact-Checking Policy

Times Applaud Private Limited, also known as “Times Applaud” or “We” or “Us” or “Our,” wants to emphasize our commitment to ensuring the accuracy of our content through our Fact-Checking Policy. The trust of our audience is paramount for any journalistic platform, and trust can only be established and maintained through accurate, fair, and balanced reporting. Therefore, we are dedicated to achieving the highest possible level of accuracy in all our content.

For us, “due accuracy” means not only meeting the required standards but also ensuring that the essence of accuracy is satisfactory. We consider factors such as the subject and nature of the information, as well as the expectations of our audience, in our pursuit of due accuracy. In every news report, we strive to provide the most accurate account corroborated by direct stakeholders.

We approach claims with skepticism, question assumptions, and challenge conventional wisdom. We acknowledge that areas of uncertainty may persist despite our best efforts to resolve them. However, the level of stringency applied in fact-checking varies depending on the type of story, whether it is a soft or hard story. For example, the sources required for a positive story about an NGO’s work differ from those for an investigative story.

To ensure due accuracy in our content, we adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. We derive any broadcast from reliable sources based on concrete and corroborated evidence. In cases where direct sources are lacking, we attribute the stories to the platforms from which they are sourced.
  2. We make efforts to verify claims, allegations, or information attributed to public authorities or individuals who we believe have motives beyond just reporting the truthfulness of an event. When we are unable to corroborate such information, including claims or allegations, we qualify and call them out.
  3. We stand by the accuracy of the information we publish. If proven otherwise, we promptly make necessary changes and inform our readers about the corrections. We understand the significance of our audience’s trust and strive not to consciously misinform or present fabricated information as factual content. When serious factual errors arise, we publicly acknowledge them and rectify them as quickly as possible in a clear and appropriate manner.
  4. We provide a fair opportunity for the public to report any inaccuracies or errors on our website through the “Suggest A Correction” segment at the end of our published reports.

Our journalists’ foremost responsibility is to report, write, and fact-check the news, information, and stories. Our stories undergo scrutiny at multiple levels, including a robust internal fact-checking procedure. Each piece is thoroughly examined, and it is reviewed by one or more of our editors. The seniority of editors involved in the review process depends on various factors such as the complexity, sensitivity, and time pressure of the issue.

In case of allegations, we ensure to reach out to all concerned parties. We independently verify the information in question and strive to achieve the most accurate result.

When sourcing information for our content, we follow these guidelines:

  1. We verify each and every piece of information with at least two sources. If there is only one source, we ensure their credibility through corroboration.
  2. We seek documentary evidence whenever possible, rather than solely relying on human sources.
  3. When presenting survey data, we provide details about how the information was collected and how the data was interpreted. We promptly convey any inconsistencies in our data to the audience.
  4. We make efforts to interview and include on-record statements from stakeholders involved in the news or information.
  5. Depending on the circumstances, when using anonymous sources, we explain why the source is not named and provide as much information as possible about them to help readers assess their reliability. We share information about sources with our editors to assess its appropriateness and usage.
  6. The conversations between reporters and editors regarding the use of information from sources, especially when the sources lack experience in engaging with the media, are reflected in anonymous quotations.
  7. We have clear discussions with sources about how the information they provide will be used. We clarify their expectations regarding keeping information “off the record,” “on background,” or other statuses, as these terms can have different meanings for different people.
  8. We give individuals the right to respond to reporting that may portray them in a negative light. We make efforts to seek responses, even when sources do not initially respond, and we explain to our readers the steps we take to obtain a response.
  9. We consciously seek out sources who lack access to wide public platforms, in addition to those who are influential and powerful, to ensure diverse perspectives are represented.
  10. If a journalist is uncertain or unable to make a decision, they can consult a senior resource or the person heading the newsroom at Times Applaud to avoid presenting incorrect information to the audience.

User-Generated Content:

We understand the challenges inherent in user-generated content. We do not assume that material shared with us is accurate, and depending on how we plan to use it, we take reasonable steps to verify its veracity. We are cautious when using information provided by individuals or groups with a vested interest in the story, ensuring a distinction between disinterested bystanders and those with biases.

We clearly identify user-generated content as such and adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. We recognize that sources that may appear reliable on the internet may not always be accurate. We verify the authenticity of material by checking the credibility of the website’s operators or confirming with relevant individuals or organizations.
  2. We take care to distinguish between fact and rumor. This is particularly important when using material from social media, where deliberate or unintended distortions can spread rapidly, while corrections face significant challenges in gaining the same momentum.
  3. Additional scrutiny is applied when using material from social media or other internet sources to corroborate facts.
  4. We qualify and call out any material that was not gathered by us, clearly indicating its source.

By adhering to these guidelines and maintaining a rigorous fact-checking process, we strive to ensure the due accuracy of our content and maintain the trust of our audience. We are committed to promptly rectifying any errors and providing accurate and reliable information to the best of our abilities.