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 stick to the best practices in fact-checking, recognised by the best non-partisan fact-checking organisations around the world, and that we adhere to their fundamental operating principles of commitment to impartiality, transparency and accuracy. See this page.
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.
- Select the claim to check
First our editors sift the suggestions sent in by readers and raised by others in the team, based on criteria set out on the website: is the topic important, was the claim framed as a statement of fact or opinion, does the claim matter, and is it a speaker we have focused on before, since we want to be sure we check all sides in any debate.
- Establish exactly what was said
Once we have the topic, we must establish exactly what was said. Claims sent in by readers for 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?
- Ask for their evidence
Having established the claim, we try to contact the speaker, or their office, and ask what evidence they have for their claim. We always seek the speaker’s evidence.
- Check our archives, and other sources
Our next step is to check our archives, and other publicly available sources, for evidence that supports, and evidence that contradicts the claim, casting our net as widely as possible.
- Discuss the evidence with experts
Having secured the evidence, we discuss it with specialist experts where necessary to help understand the data. We only discuss with experts willing to go on the record, as we do not use anonymous sources.
- Write up the report – setting out evidence step-by-step and providing links
We write up our report, setting out, first, the claim that was made and the context in which it was delivered and reported; second the evidence that supports the claim; third any contrary evidence; and fourth, a balanced conclusion. For all evidence we quote we provide a link or quote the source.
- Have a colleague review the report & findings
To ensure that the report itself is accurate, we then ask one of the researcher’s colleagues to review the report, and independently assess the findings, before it is finalised.
- Publish, and monitor feedback
Finally we publish the report, making it available for free on the site and to the media, and monitor feedback. If or when a reader identifies an error, we update the report openly.