About Us

South Asia Check is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit initiative by Panos South Asia which aims to promote accuracy and accountability in public debate. We examine statements and claims made by public figures in Nepal and occasionally across South Asia and publish our findings on this site. This is not a finger-pointing exercise, but an attempt to promote transparency, truth and accountability in politics and media in the region.

Panos South Asia is a non-profit media development organization active in South Asia and beyond since 1997.

The fact-checking team is editorially independent.

Fact-checking of statements and claims

We consider statements and/or claims from politicians, government figures (ministers, bureaucrats and diplomats), multilateral agencies and organizations that come out with research or statistics on issues of public importance. Our aim is to first determine the authenticity of such statements through the primary source and then examine the veracity of statements/claims.

Promise Tracker

People holding public offices and government positions make various promises through policy statements and public speeches. And some of these promises are not kept. Under this section, we keep track of the progress of such promises. We will do this without fear or favor.

In Public Interest

This section deals with stories in public interest. We do not depend on any public statement/claim per se, but these stories are based on information in public domain, be it news, some findings, reports, or published statistics. Besides, we also do stories on a contemporary issue that assumes national significance.

Media

Media ought to play the role of a watchdog and we embrace this idea. Media in South Asia have been doing that, to a large extent. We aim to help media bolster its role as a trusted watchdog. After all, media are our ally. Initially, under this specific exercise, we will keep track of number of anonymous sources that appear in major English and Nepali language broadsheet dailies and weeklies. The work area will expand as the need arises.

Panos South Asia (PSA) believes in the need to strengthen accountability in politics and journalism in Nepal and across South Asia as an effective way to consolidate democracy.

It is important that public figures be held accountable for what they say and claim. Media, which has such an important role in holding the public figures to account, also displays bias. In some extreme cases, media has misrepresented facts.

Fact-checkers have to be absolutely impartial and non-partisan. So our fact-checkers cannot be members of political parties and political party-affiliated bodies or professional unions. All care must be taken to avoid being seen as prejudiced, biased or carrying an agenda to defame or harm or discriminate against a person or organization.

Fact-checking of statements of public figures and producing investigative stories on topics of public interest are sensitive subjects. Therefore, utmost care should be taken to carry out the task of checking facts and investigation in highest professional standards.

The following is a list of codes. This is updated from time to time and fact-checking team informed about it immediately.

Code of Conduct for Fact-checkers

The following code of conduct must be adhered to at all times by the fact-checking team:

  1. Undertake fact-checking of statement and claims of public figures* in a fair and objective manner, without fear or favor.
  2. Should not have and demonstrate any kind of bias in fact-checking work.
  3. Should not convey any kind of bias or prejudice in social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other such platforms. This is really important to bear in mind.
  4. Comments of political or ideological in nature on public platform should be avoided.
  5. Should desist from any kind of hate speech or racial remarks.
  6. Should not be a full-time employee of any media or other organizations.
  7. Be open to suggestions from readers or story ideas suggested by them.
  8. Accept any criticism or critique of the published pieces and immediately take steps to see if any corrective measures are required. If so, those measures should be taken.
  9. Try not to make a mistake. However, if a mistake has been detected by the team or pointed out by readers, that mistake should be acknowledged and corrections made. Under no circumstances, the posted piece can be deleted.

*Public figures include the President, Prime Minister, Ministers, Justices of Supreme and Appellate court (the two tops courts), Bureaucrats, Diplomats, Businessmen/women, Celebrities (like movie stars, singers, musicians, and so on)

Whenever there is a mistake in our report, we correct the mistake as and when it is spotted. We put an asterisk mark next to the correction and clarify the change at the bottom of the report. However, minor grammatical corrections are made without clarification. So far we have not made any mistake which would change the verdict of the report.

We fact-check the statements made by people holding public office, both elected and unelected, on the radio, television, newspapers and social media. We also fact-check rumors and pictures that have widely circulated on the social media.

We take the following steps before ascertaining whether to fact-check a statement or not:

First step:

We see whether the statement was indeed made by the same individual or someone else had attributed the statement to that individual. For this we search for the audio or video containing the statement. If the person has made the statement through his own social media account, then we consider the statement as his own. If needed we contact the person concerned and ask him/her whether the statement was his/her own or not. Once we make sure that the statement was the person’s own, we examine whether the statistics used in the statement are sensitive enough to merit fact-checking. If the answer is yes then we fact-check it.

Second step:

To see whether the statistics used in the statement are correct or not, we study relevant publicly-available publications of impartial and competent authorities. For instance, government statistics, census reports, books and journals etc. We don’t fact-check statements that cannot be verified on the basis of publicly available documents/statistics/evidences. Also, we don’t publish the results of fact-check statements/claims that are correct, except for the statements that are against popular belief.

Third step:

Once a member of our team prepares a fact-check report, we double check the report through another member of the team and then publish the report.

Readers can fact-check

In order to facilitate our readers to examine our fact-check reports, we include in our reports the reference materials and evidences used for checking the facts.

Request to readers

If you feel that any statements from public office bearer needs to be fact-checked, then please write to us at @mohanmainali@gmail.com

Mohan Mainali
Editor
Mainali is the editor of South Asia Check. He has more than 20 years of journalism working in different newsrooms. He is also an accomplished documentary maker and has written several books about Nepal. He was awarded the prestigious Padmashree Literary Prize in 2015 for his latest book ‘Mantha Darayeko Jug’. He can be reached at mohanmainali@gmail.com

Dilip Dhakal
Copy editor
Dhakal has more than fifteen years of experience working in Nepal’s leading newsrooms. He was also the head of the media monitoring project of Panos South Asia between 2012 and 2015. He holds an MBA from the Tribhuvan University. He can be reached at dkdhakal@gmail.com.

Injina Panthi
Reporter
Panthi has a masters’ degree in international relations and diplomacy from the Tribhuvan University. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications. She also teaches post graduate students at the Tribhuvan Uuniversity. Before joining Southasiacheck.org, she worked as a freelance feature writer focusing on women’s issues. She can be reached at injina2011@gmail.com.

Sanjog Shiwakoti
Reporter
Shiwakoti  is currently pursuing a Master of Philosophy in Development Studies at Kathmandu University. He has over a decade's experience in digital media and photography. He can be reached at shiwakotisanjog@gmail.cim

 

Grants received
US $7679 (2013, FOSI, Initial start-up grant)
US$ 40,000 (2016, NED)
U$ 41,400 (2017, NED)
US$31,755 (2018, OSF)