November 19, 2015

When leaders of the world’s largest economies meet to discuss the future of the planet, it’s probably worthwhile to fact-check them.

That is exactly what happened this week during the latest G20 summit in Turkey. As heads of state and government spoke to the press, 12 fact-checkers from 10 different countries looked at the accuracy of their statements. The result is #G20factchecked, a collaborative effort that follows in the steps of the G20 “factcheckathon” held in November 2014 and #RefugeeCheck, conducted by EU fact-checkers in October.

These collaborations highlight the similarities in the application of fact-checking as a stand-alone journalistic feature worldwide. Collecting fact-checks from an international conference also provides an overview of the event that is broader than the usual narratives tailored by each media outlet to their respective domestic audience. You can find links to the fact checks from the G20 in Antalya below; a new “factcheckathon” is being planned for the COP21 climate change conference in Paris later this year.

  1. Doğruluk Payı found that the G20 host, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, was wildly off the mark in claiming that the minimum wage in Europe was just 200 euros. The real average for the countries with a minimum wage in place is far higher.
  2. Pagella Politica deemed that EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was correct in stating that the border controls recently imposed by France were expressly allowed by Schengen, the agreement that allows Members of most EU countries ID-free travel within the Schengen Area.
  3. El Sabueso fact-checked Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto, who claimed to have completed 17 new highways in the context of a big infrastructure plan. Yet of the 17, five were completed during previous administration and three were just extensions or expansions. El Sabueso rated it “Deceitful”.
  4. Aos Fatos and Lupa from Brazil fact-checked several claims made by President Dilma Rousseff. The former found that Dilma’s claim to have cut taxes more than anyone before was incorrect, while the latter found no public data to support the President’s claim to have created approximately 1 million new openings in technical schools in 2015.
  5. The Washington Post Fact Checker found that President Barack Obama’s claim on the United States being the largest donor of humanitarian aid to the Syrian people checks out, while PolitiFact rated Obama “mostly true” when he claimed that the US is “the largest provider of humanitarian assistance to displaced persons and refugees.”
  6. JTBC in South Korea fact-checked President Park Geun-hye’s imprecise claim that her government’s “Creative Economy” policy has been instrumental in creating new start-ups and deemed successful by the OECD.
  7. Africa Check noted that South African President Jacob Zuma (or his speechwriters) forgot a few zeros when citing figures on renewable energy investment in his country.
  8. Full Fact confirmed British Prime Minister David Cameron’s claim that the UK is the second largest contributor of aid destined for the Syrian crisis.
  9. provided context and a status update on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plans for “inclusive development”.
  10. FactsCan found that the cover photo on the Canadian Prime Minister’s website following the G20 was captioned “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon at the G20 Summit in Turkey”. But the man Mr Trudeau was seen deep in talks with was World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, not Mr Ban.
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Alexios Mantzarlis joined Poynter to lead the International Fact-Checking Network in September of 2015. In this capacity he writes about and advocates for fact-checking. He…
Alexios Mantzarlis

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