Why The Blood Stained Nigerian Flag Is Declared False By Facebook: An Assessment Of The Grant Of IFCN Signatory Status By Ebi Robert

 


By Ebi Robert 


Facebook, as one of its tools to checkmate false news introduced what is known as independent fact checking which is usually done by independent fact-checkers. 


These independent facts-checkers (IFC) are organizations who meet up certain criteria upon signing in to a kind of network, and are tasked with the responsibility of checking the accuracy of facts, whether of figures, truth behind a story,  whether in letters or images. 


Independent fact checking is guided by a code known as the International Fact-Checking Network Code of Principles. The Code of principles is basically for organizations that regularly publish non-partisan reports on the accuracy of statements by public figures and prominent institutions and other widely circulated claims related to public interest issues, so the Poynter asserts. 


When an organization wishes to be an IFC, it follows the process of application and when approved, it is granted with what is known as the IFCN signatory status. This is after it has signed in to be guided by the code. 


According to Poynter, IFCN signatory status may be granted to legally registered organizations set up for the purpose of fact-checking that regularly publish non-partisan reports on the factual accuracy of statements by public figures and prominent institutions and widely circulated claims in text, visual and other formats focused primarily on claims related to public interest issues. Part of the info reads:


"IFCN signatory status may not be granted to organizations whose editorial work is controlled by the state, a political party or politician. It may however be granted to organizations that receive funding from state or political sources to carry out public service journalism if the IFCN assessor determines there is clear and unambiguous separation of editorial control from state or political influence."


The above-mentioned info has disclosed the fact that though the Code may prescribe a non-partisan dogmata, in so far as organizers who receive funding from state or political sources can receive such status, it means that loyal organizations can tag a story to be false eventhough it is not. Furthermore, even if IFCN assessor engages in the so-called 'act of separation' successfully, that will not stop shadow interferences. The question is: how certain are the assesors that editorial control is non-partisan? 


The recent tag of false information on the blood-stain Nigerian flag shows that certain fact-checkers who are working with the government have checked and found the image inacurrate, which to many Nigerians is not true.  This is certainly is a 'note to worry'. With the proliferation of such organization without a counter-org, information for proper facts finding will be threatened.  


Conclusively, there must be a strong means in operation for sound debunking of information already tagged inaccurate. Organizations with strong editorial control must seek to get IFCN signatory status to bridge the gap. This way, fact-checkers who work with government can be checkmated. By implication, it is not totally Mark Zuckerberg's fault that our photos have the 'false tag'. 


(Expect a full paper work on International Fact-Checking Network Code of Principles) 


By Ebi Robert

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