Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Get your Africa facts right: websites seek to stem flow of misinformation | World news | The Guardian

Get your Africa facts right: websites seek to stem flow of misinformation | World news | The Guardian

Inaccurate media reports are hardly limited to Africa, but there’s a greater chance of international newspapers getting things wrong – and not admitting so – when it comes to the continent, Seay said.

“When most western outlets have just two or three people covering a continent of 11 million square miles, it very easy to make mistakes, even unintentionally. It’s a recipe for disaster in terms of quality of coverage.”

Around half of Africa Check’s investigations are triggered by readers wanting to know anything from the veracity of claims made by pop stars to supposed disease-busting local herbs. Operating out of Lagos and Johannesburg, the not-for-profit organisation funded by grants and individual donations has a team of five full-timers working alongside volunteers and freelancers, and hopes to expand to Kenya and Senegal next.

Anton Harber, a highly-regarded South African former investigative journalist and co-founder of the project, explained its ultimate aim. “I imagine a situation in which every public figure and journalist feels nervous about what they say or write because Africa Check might just catch them out.”
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