JOHANNESBURG and REDWOOD CITY, Calif., (8 April, 2014) – Omidyar Network announced today a grant of up to USD $250k to Africa Check, a Johannesburg-based nonprofit that promotes accuracy in public debate and media reporting. The two-year grant will be used to support the expansion of Africa Check’s operations to Kenya and Nigeria.
Africa Check scrutinizes the veracity of claims made by public figures; assists traditional and community-based media with training, data, and tools to test claims; and trains fellow journalists to curb practices that promote sensational news reporting. Director Peter Cunliffe-Jones leads the organization, which operates in partnership with the University of Witwatersrand’s journalism department.
In its first 18-months of operation, more than 500,000 people read and commented on its Web-based reports, and hundreds of thousands more saw, heard, or read Africa Check’s republished reports on traditional TV, radio, and print media outlets.
Omidyar Network’s grant comes through the philanthropic investment firm’s Government Transparency initiative, which works to build stronger and more open societies by increasing government responsiveness and citizen participation.
“An open and responsive society requires independent media to provide accurate and unbiased information so that citizens may hold their leaders to account,” said Ory Okolloh, director, investments, Omidyar Network. “Africa Check plays a vital role in enabling fact-based public dialogue and strengthening traditional and citizen journalism. Omidyar Network is proud to support Africa Check and its mission.”
Since it was launched in 2012, Africa Check has exposed misleading claims from dozens of leading public figures and has persuaded both politicians and media houses to withdraw or correct false statements.
”If people around Africa are to make informed decisions on the questions that affect their lives, they need the information they receive – from politicians and the media – to be honest and accurate,” said Cunliffe-Jones. “Africa Check has had real success in fostering fact-checking in South Africa. The support of Omidyar Network will help us to both develop and extend this work to West and East Africa over the coming two years.”
For more information about Africa Check, please visit: www.africacheck.org and follow Africa Check on Twitter @AfricaCheck.