The basics of fact-checking

The author, Deepak Adhikari, delivering fact-checking training to a group of Nepali journalists in Kathmandu in April 2021. Image courtesy of the Centre for Media Research Nepal.
The author, Deepak Adhikari, delivering fact-checking training to a group of Nepali journalists in Kathmandu in August 2021. Image courtesy of the Centre for Media Research Nepal.

The growth of social media platforms has enabled people to express views and share content online, quickly and often. The ease of access to smartphones, data, and a wide variety of platforms has led to a deluge of online information. And not all of it is true.

Sometimes people share content without having adequate knowledge. This has been particularly evident during the Covid-19 pandemic.

When people are scared and have little knowledge about a topic they are more susceptible to spreading misinformation. That’s why misinformation spreads like a wildfire during major breaking news events.

People tend to share photos, memes or content that they find on social media without checking the veracity. In most cases, they do so with good intentions, perhaps to alert their family and friends.

But misinformation can be harmful because those reading the information tend to believe it and sometimes act on the basis of such information. And they, in turn, are likely to share it further.

In order for people to make informed decisions, they need to be provided with accurate and reliable facts. Fact-checking can play a critical role in this problematic news ecosystem.

Exposing the invisible – The Kit

Exposing the Invisible – The Kit has been developed by Tactical Tech in order to help people “develop the ability to question information that is false, find information when it is scarce and filter information when it becomes overwhelming.”

I was responsible for writing the part of The Kit that deals with fact-checking, including the following sections:

The Kit also includes experience of fact-checkers from Nepal and India.

For more information on fact-checking you can take a look at this list of articles and guides.

And if you need help understanding some of the terms used in any of these pieces you can refer to this glossary of definitions.


Deepak Adhikari is the editor of South Asia Check, a fact-checking initiative by Panos South Asia. For more than a decade, Adhikari has worked for major international news agencies and publications. He worked for Agence France-Presse (AFP), the global news agency and dpa, the German news agency, as a reporter in Nepal. His work has appeared in leading international outlets including New York Times, Al Jazeera English, The Guardian, Time magazine. He has written longform stories for magazines including The Caravan, Himal Southasian. He has also written chapters in two books: Garrisoned Minds: Women and Armed Conflict in South Asia and The Caravan Book of Profiles.