You can’t fact-check everything.
PesaCheck, a newly launched initiative in Kenya, will be fact-checking the budget (“pesa” is Swahili for money). A project of the International Budget Partnership — Kenya and Code for Kenya, two transparency-focused NGOs, it hopes to publish its work primarily on other media outlets, though it does have a presence on Medium.
Catherine Gicheru, a Knight International Journalism Fellow at Code for Kenya, explained PesaCheck’s narrow focus: “While there is ample room for fact-checking other general issues, it is rare for journalists to fact-check budgets.”
Besides reaching audiences directly, PesaCheck hopes to build capacity among media outlets in Kenya (a goal shared by many fact-checkers around the world, including Johannesburg-based Africa Check).
“We hope that by showing what is possible, the media houses will adopt a more skeptical attitude and introduce evidence-based reporting (instead of the current he-said-she-said) in their narratives,” says Gicheru.
Fact checks about the budget don’t necessarily sound like they are going to be click-magnets, but “follow the money” is a central tenet of journalism for good reason.
“Money is always sexy, especially in a country like Kenya with a lot of corruption,” said George Nyabuga, senior lecturer at the University of Nairobi’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.