Africa’s first website set up exclusively to fact-check public debate launched today.
The site will produce its own fact-checking reports, but will also provide tips and advice for its readers on how to fact-check as well as a library of databases and fact-checking tools.
“Fact-checking is a growing trend in the media, and in wider society, around the world. But to our knowledge, this is the first time anyone has tried to do something like this, here in Africa,” said AFP Foundation deputy director Peter Cunliffe-Jones, who devised and oversees the project.
The fact that the site is being run from a university, says AFP, means that Africa Check will be well placed to spread the skills and practice of fact-checking among both student and working journalists.
“I believe that Africa Check can make an important contribution to public discourse by promoting a culture of accuracy and making public figures think twice about playing loose with the facts,” said Anton Harber, the Caxton Professor of Journalism at WITS, and a former editor of the South African newspaper Mail and Guardian, who is senior adviser to the project.
Initial funding for the project was awarded in May 2012 by the IPI News Innovation Contest.
Speaking earlier this year, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said: “I salute the work of Africa Check, as an important initiative engaging with journalists and citizens across the continent to raise the level of public debate.”