"Fake News" is a buzzword worldwide. But it's not only a buzzword, it's also a big problem not everyone can fight. Africa Check uses data-driven methods and journalistic skills to fact-check claims made by african authorities, and encourages you to do so, too. Group editor Anim van Wyk introduces the project.
Africa Check – the continent's first independent fact-checking organisation – is built around publicly accessible data. We consult the best databases to fact-check claims made by leading voices in public debate in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Senegal. Most frequently we rely on the national statistics offices, for instance to gauge unemployment, as well as data from various nationally representative health surveys, such as Demographic and Health Surveys. We analyse these with the help of experts and visualise what is relevant to our fact-check by using tools such as Datawrapper.
In Africa, it is sometimes difficult to get hold of data on many topics and then we have to be creative. An example is the population count of Nigeria, where official census data is suspect, but research based on satellite imagery and geographic information systems can be used to cross-reference it.
But our most important mission is to ensure that we’re not the only fact-checkers around. That’s why we share sources and provide data journalism explainers to fellow journalists and the public. Anyone can and should be a fact-checker!