Africa Check always attempts to fact-check both sides of a debate.
Examples include South Africa’s annual State of the Nation address, where we first fact-checked statements by President Jacob Zuma and then turned our attention to the ensuing debates.
1. Did Zuma get his #SoNA2016 facts straight?
2. Fact-checking the #SoNA2016 debates
Another example from our archive is Africa Check’s coverage of the local government elections that took place in August. In turn, we fact-checked the manifestos of the three largest parties to contest the elections.
3. Is the ANC ‘advancing people’s power’? We fact-check key election claims
4. Is the EFF your ‘last hope for service delivery’? We evaluate their manifesto
5. Does the DA create ‘change that moves SA forward’? We weigh up key claims
As part of our health fact-checking, we researched claims from both industry and a health professional on the impact a proposed sugar tax could have on obesity and employment in South Africa.
6. SA’s proposed sugar tax: claims about calories & job losses checked
This report covered two claims - first relating to calorie intake (part of a debate over proposed tax changes)
And the same report covered this claim
“This decline in [sales] volumes could result in 62,000-72,000 job losses, many of which will be in small-scale farms and spazas.”
7. Are South Africans the 8th highest sugar consumers in the world?
Africa Check is careful only to state the facts and does not advocate for any matter except the availability of quality data. This can be seen in our reports on nuclear energy, teenage pregnancy and drug use which are contentious issues in South African society.
8. Is nuclear energy really the ‘cheapest source of electricity’?
9. No evidence that teen pregnancies in Africa are rising as BBC headline said
10. Do 15% of SA’s population have a drug problem? We fact-check 4 ‘shocking stats’
EXPLANATION OF HOW WE MAINTAIN STANDARDS ACROSS FACT-CHECKS
We apply the same methodology to all our reports. The process is as follows:
START WITH THE CLAIM: We start every fact-checking report with the claim or claims someone has made. If the claim is made in a news report, the editor always seeks to verify with the speaker or their office exactly what was said and the context. We always seek to include a link at the top of the report to the statement, either a primary source or, if that is not possible, a secondary source that quotes from it, such as a media report.
CHECK THE EVIDENCE: Once the claim is established, the most important step is to find good reliable sources of evidence to check the claim against. This is evidence in the public domain that verifies or contradicts what has been said, data from a public database, the findings of academic studies, the opinion of established experts, or other sources. Our reports are typically based on primary sources – a recording, a transcript, a database or other verifiable primary source if possible. Secondary sources are used where necessary but only if properly checked and attributed.
REPORT WRITING: Our reports are written in a clear and easy-to-read style, avoiding jargon, unnecessary acronyms and specialist language. The report format is standardised to follow a set pattern – a headline that is easy-to- read and deliver the report’s conclusion; a body that sets out the claim we are investigating and a conclusion based on our finding. We also summarise the claim and the finding in table for easy reference.