Industry Updates

MCA announces Fact Checking Network


FACTLY is also a member of the MCA network.

The Misinformation Combat Alliance (MCA) is proud to announce the framework for an independent Fact Checking Network (FCN) – our initiative to develop self-governing standards and best practices for fact checking organisations in India, enabling them to become trusted partners in the fight against the weaponisation of misinformation and disinformation. 

It is no secret that the spread of misinformation and disinformation online (often clubbed under the moniker of “fake news”) has become one of the most significant challenges of the modern age. Countries around the world are grappling with the difficulties of addressing this challenge, as are social media platforms, messaging services and other intermediaries which have found themselves the battlegrounds of an ever-evolving war between truth and falsehood.

In recent years, fact checking organisations have been stepping up to the challenge, helping average citizens understand the dangers of false and misleading information, and how they can be vigilant to avoid falling prey to them. India has been no exception to this phenomenon, and indeed is now home to the largest fact checking community in the world. 

This is a diverse and vibrant community, which has honed its ability to effectively communicate with the diverse and vibrant people of India, no matter which language, and no matter which format, is required for the job. It is therefore an ideal partner for civil society, tech platforms and the government in their efforts to tackle the problem of misinformation and disinformation.

Given this increasingly important role for the Indian fact checking community, we also understand the need to earn the trust of India’s digital nagriks. They need to be satisfied that our work is unbiased, rigorous and fair; and that we are transparent about our approach and how we operate, so that they can feel safe relying on our assessments and fact checks when trying to make sense of the world around them.

The FCN has a robust Code of Principles that is meant to provide Indian fact checkers with the guidance they need to ensure their work is of an unimpeachable standard. The Code includes commitments to non-partisanship and fairness (including not unduly targeting any side), transparency of methodology (including explaining how fact checks are done and what evidence is used) and transparency of funding (to ensure readers are aware of any relevant bias). 

While such commitments can also be found in international best practices, the FCN Code of Principles goes further, with tailored provisions to ensure that the interests of India’s digital nagriks are firmly front and centre. Fact checking organisations that sign up to the Code have to commit to ensuring that their checks are easily accessible and are not hidden behind a paywall, and that their checks can be used for non-commercial purposes like awareness campaigns under a creative commons licence. They also have to demonstrate a commitment to privacy and safety, including considerations under Indian law for protecting the identities of children and victims of heinous crimes, as well as protecting personal data under the Digital Personal Data Protection Act 2023.

Organisations that are willing to sign up to the Code of Principles will become part of a standard framework for fact checking in India, overseen by the FCN Board. The Board is a self-governing body established under a special charter to verify whether an organisation’s processes and workflow is compliant with the FCN Code of Principles. Organisations which meet the standards will be accredited as ‘verified signatories’ to the Code. This can be viewed as a certification to the public as well as platforms and government authorities that the organisation can be trusted to employ the highest standards in the conduct of fact checking.

The FCN Board will comprise independent eminent persons from the field of media, broadcasting, journalism, human rights or law – all of whom must be Indian citizens –  with a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge as its Chairperson. The Board will obtain reports from expert assessors to determine whether an organisation should be accepted as a verified signatory. These assessors need to be Indian citizens with extensive experience and qualifications, and will need to demonstrate their political neutrality to perform this role. The Board will also ensure any signatories which violate the Code face consequences, including in serious cases losing their status and being barred from applying for it again. Any member of the general public can file a complaint about such violations against a verified signatory, ensuring that Indian citizens can keep their trusted fact checkers accountable.

While the MCA has worked on drawing up this framework, we want it to be a framework for all Indian fact checkers, which can eventually become a leading standard in South Asia and beyond. Any fact checking organisation with a demonstrable focus on India, and which publishes fact checks in English or any of the 22 languages recognised by the Indian Constitution, is eligible to apply to become a verified signatory. It will not be necessary for a fact checker to join the MCA to do so.

The FCN framework is meant to be a multi-stakeholder initiative that builds public trust and can become an integral part of comprehensive strategies to address online misinformation and disinformation. The framework was therefore prepared following widespread consultations with relevant stakeholders.  

We hope to continue to be able to work with others committed to the fight to protect Indian citizens from online harms, and ensure that the Indian fact checking community fulfils its incredible potential for years to come. As part of these efforts, we have launched an email ( that will serve as a hotline where posts or messages containing potential or suspected misinformation can be sent for fact checking and verification by our member fact-checking newsrooms.  

We are also excited to welcome new members to the MCA family, and look forward to expanding this community to be ever-more inclusive, diverse, and dynamic. 


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