Africa Check is a non-partisan organisation that exists to promote accuracy and honesty in public debate and the media in Africa.
To do this effectively, it is important that we follow the best practices in fact-checking, recognised by the best non-partisan fact-checking organisations around the world. We adhere to the International Fact-Checking Network’s fundamental operating principles of commitment to impartiality, transparency and accuracy.
How this shapes our work
Every report we produce is different, but to ensure we fact-check all fairly, the way we approach it is the same.
1. Select the claim to check
First our editors sift the suggestions sent in by readers, according to criteria set out here, and raised by others in the team. We then assess the claim. Is the topic important? Is the claim framed as a statement of fact or opinion? Does the claim matter? Have we focused on this speaker before? We make sure to check all sides in any debate.
2. Establish exactly what was said
We establish exactly what was said. Claims that readers send us to check can sometimes be vague. But to check a claim, we need the precise wording. What exactly did they say? Was it as reported? And what was the context in which it was said?
3. Ask for their evidence
Having established the claim, we try to contact the claimant to ask what evidence they have for their claim. We always seek their evidence.
4. Check our archives, and other sources
Our next step is to check our archives for evidence that supports – and evidence that contradicts – the claim, casting our net as widely as possible.
5. Discuss the evidence with experts
Once we’ve secured the evidence and broader context, we discuss it with specialist experts, where necessary, to help understand the data. We only quote experts willing to go on the record, as we do not use anonymous sources.
6. Write up the report, setting out evidence step by step and providing links
We write up our report. This includes, setting out the claim itself and the context in which it was delivered and reported. We then explain any evidence that supports the claim or contradicts it. We end with a conclusion that summarises the report and explains the verdict we have reached. We also summarise the report before presenting the detail, for readers who may want to take everything in at a glance. For all evidence we quote we provide a link or quote the source.
7. Have a colleague review the report and its findings
To ensure that the report is accurate, we then ask one of the researcher’s colleagues to review the report and independently assess the findings, before it is finalised.
8. Publish, and monitor feedback
Finally we publish the report and monitor feedback. If a reader identifies an error, we update the report openly.