Fact-checking is a method of evaluating the reliability of claims, news, quotations and accounts taken from various forms of media, social networks and individual people. In the modern, digital world, identifying truth and facts from among the masses of content published by the media and on social media is not a simple task. IranWire’s fact check series attempts to use reliable international and Iranian sources and information to check the reliability and accuracy of information, claims, news and quotations attributed to individuals. Below we outline what subjects we have chosen to fact check, as well as our methodology.
The series will look at statements of fact in the media, or expressed by individuals, government entities, and organizations that focus on Iran. This statements may focus on Iran’s relationships with the Arab World, Iran’s foreign and domestic policies, and data and information about Iran and elements of economic, political, and social life in Iran.
Critical questions help identify which topics to fact check:
Is the statement significant and relevant to what is being covered in the news and happening in Iran, the region, Europe or the United States?
Is the statement likely to be (or has it been) passed on and repeated by others on social media and in the media?
Might the statement leave a particular impression that could be misleading? Does it make the reader question whether it is true?
Is the statement rooted in an apparent fact that is verifiable?
2. Selection Process
IranWire’s fact check team will identify statements in key news stories, on social media posts, political advertisements and speeches, campaign websites, and press releases, and in other public sources regarding Iran that are circulated in Iran, the Arab World or the US and Europe, including Iran’s policy in the Arab World, Iranian domestic issues, Iran’s policy towards the US and Europe, and other key issues. Items may be submitted by our reporters, editors, or our audience. We select items on a non-partisan basis and ensure our selection is guided by the principles below.
After a claim, statement, or other item has been approved for fact checking, our fact check team will research it. In all cases we will: Attempt to contact the source of a claim for clarification, data, or sources; search accessible open sources in domestic or international databases, and in domestic and international media to find corroborating or contradictory evidence; as appropriate after conducting the first two steps, contact experts in the relevant fields for guidance and analysis.
4. Evaluating Claims
Drawing on the evidence identified in step 3 above, IranWire will present our research results to the editorial team for review and, upon editorial approval, prepare an analysis for publication. The analysis will include a discussion of the original statement being fact checked, including the source of the statement, an explanation for why it was selected for fact checking, and the context in which the statement was originally presented. We will then provide a summary of the evidence found relating to the claim, including the sources used and how we interpreted that evidence. Finally, IranWire will present its analysis of the claim on the scale outlined below, including a discussion of why we rated the claim as we did.
Pinocchio Lie: Statements that have been previously disproven or are patently false, drawing on research and known evidence.
Not True: False statement about a specific recent event or something not previously disproven, as supported with facts and evidence.
Manipulating the Truth: This will apply to cases where certain facts may be used out of context to imply a different unprovable or inaccurate point.
True: When a statement is supported by documented facts.
- Can not be proven/disproven: In certain instances we may acknowledge that we cannot actually make a case for a statement being categorized on the scale between truth and lie. Such a case might be a claim about internal deliberations within the government that we cannot find out about, information that turns out to be substantially an opinion statement or group of statements, or claims about intentions that cannot be proven or disproven.
- Corrections/Fact Check Standards: IranWire will publish any corrections as warranted by new evidence or sources that we become aware of or receive after initial publication. We will explain why we made the correction.
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