Why they matter
As part of our fact-checking, Africa Check encourages politicians, the media, other organisations and the public to be more transparent about false or misleading claims they may have made, and to correct or withdraw these claims from public circulation.
Corrections are an effective tool for underpinning accountability and transparency. Transparent corrections should be encouraged as part of efforts to build and sustain the public’s trust.
In Kenya, we have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Media Council of Kenya to formalise a partnership that seeks transparent corrections from mainstream media houses and promotes the creation of fact-checking media desks in Kenyan newsrooms.
We have started similar engagements with the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) and the Press Council of South Africa, as well as with Cored, the committee that regulates media ethics and professional conduct in Senegal. Interventions like these are also planned for Nigeria.
We are following a similar process in our engagement with civil society and other activist organisations. In this way, we are creating awareness about the importance of using accurate data in advocacy, and the harm that can be caused when false claims are used to lobby for policy change.
How we do it
If a claim is found to be incorrect, unproven or misleading, we contact the person who made the claim. We track the resurfacing of false claims previously debunked by Africa Check and reach out to the sources to present them with the evidence that led to our verdict. We ask the source to amend the claim.
What we recommend when a correction should be made
When a claim is rated incorrect, unproven or misleading, a correction should be made quickly and clearly.
Corrections should be public, and appear on the same platform or page as the source of the misinformation:
- In the case of an online publication, factual errors – minor or otherwise – must be corrected in the version of the article that is available online and a note must be added at the end of the article indicating that a change has been made and what has been changed.
- If an error in print or online stories was repeated on social media, or if a factual error was made in social media reporting (for instance live tweeting of an event), the error must be corrected on the same accounts and platforms where it was originally published, with a link or reference to the corrected print or online version where applicable.