Africa Check was devised by the non-profit Agence France-Presse (AFP) Foundation, in partnership with the Journalism Department of the University of the Witwatersrand. It was launched in October 2012 with support from Google via the International Press Institute (IPI). It was set up as a UK-registered non-profit organisation in June 2012. It is overseen by a five-member board of independent trustees comprising the following:
- Dr Ben Goldacre: a medical doctor well known in the UK for his ‘Bad Science’ health fact-checking column in the UK Guardian and other work
- Eric Chinje: a founder of the African Media Initiative and until recently Director of Strategic Communications for the Mo Ibrahim Foundation
- Nicola Tallett: Director of Fundraising for the MS Society
- Robert Holloway: Director of the AFP Foundation
- Roger Frimpong: Head of Finance at the Samaritans
The fundraising and administrative operations for Africa Check are carried out by the AFP Foundation deputy director Peter Cunliffe-Jones, based in London, who has been seconded by AFP Foundation to serve as unpaid director of Africa Check. AFP Foundation provides all his support costs.
The Africa Check team in Southern Africa is based at the Journalism Department of the University of the Witwatersrand where it is overseen by Professor Anton Harber. The team in Johannesburg is responsible for the editorial work and day-to-day running of the site. It is headed by Africa Check Southern African Editor Julian Rademeyer, an investigative reporter and author. A researcher is soon to be named to support his work.
I have discussed with Peter Cunliffe-Jones and Prof Anton Haber and also critically looked at the current Africa Check website which features South African reports and I am convinced that this is a well-structured initiative with a proper governance system in place. In my view, Africa Check is well placed to make this expansion into Zimbabwe, Zambia and Swaziland where they are most likely to make tremendous contribution to better media performance in those countries. The AFP Foundation and the Journalism Department of Wits University have considerable experience in both running media operations and providing training and advice to media partners. They are both well-respected institutions whose backing is of considerable practical support to the project.ShareThis