The Independent has been awarded a 100 per cent trust rating by NewsGuard, a leading international watchdog for online news media.
The group calculates independent ratings for thousands of news organisations around the world, assessing credibility by checking for false content, deceptive headlines, blurring between news and opinion and the distortion of information.
NewsGuard also analyses how outlets handle errors and their own transparency, including ownership, financing and advertising.
The former editor of The Independent, Christian Broughton, who became managing director last week, said: “Honest, independent reporting has always been our absolute priority.
“At a time when conspiracy theories are clouding the run-up to the US election, and politicians across the world spin so much of the news media, it is reassuring to that NewsGuard are applying such scrutiny to established news brands and new information sources alike.”
Also awarded a “green” rating – scores of over 60 per cent – was CNN, on 87.5 per cent, after it was found to adhere mostly to standards but failing to differentiate properly between news and opinion at times.
The Huffington Post was also given 87.5, for the same reasons.
The Telegraph was given the same score, with NewsGuard finding it fails to meet transparency requirements over its ownership and financing, or for content creators.
Fox News was given a score of 69.5, after NewsGuard said there were “significant exceptions” to basic standards of credibility.
The broadcaster does not gather and present information responsibly, NewsGuard found, or meet standards on differences between news and opinion.
NewsGuard was founded two years ago, with the backing of investors including leading journalism non-profit the Knight Foundation and major advertising company the Publicis Groupe, as an alternative to global government regulation of major news websites.
The organisation’s global advisory board contains senior political and media figures such as Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, ex-BBC director of global news Richard Sambrook, and former Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
NewsGuard ratings can be found on its website, www.newsguardtech.com, or viewed automatically through an extension for internet browsers. The watchdog has assessed thousands of websites, which between them comprise 95 per cent of online engagement across the US, UK, France, Germany and Italy.