FactCheck is Verité’s latest online platform, dedicated to fact-checking statements made in the print media. The team monitors newspapers in Sinhala, Tamil and English and picks out statements attributed to high-level decision makers. The main objective of FactCheck is to improve the space of public understanding and information in Sri Lanka. The team aims to achieve this goal by holding decision-makers accountable to what they say and increasing public awareness of the importance of fact-checking and the methods of doing it. While the official website is scheduled to be released later year, the Facebook page was launched last week.
FactCheck’s first post, featuring a statement by President Maithripala Sirisena, is shown below.
President’s statement: True if he said “South” Asia. Two recent surveys assessing judicial independence across the world showed that when considering South Asia only, the president’s statement is true: Sri Lanka ranks amongst the highest. However, the story does not hold when considering Asia as a whole, where Sri Lanka ranks around the middle of each list. The first survey was the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index 2017-2018 (for the survey, please see: https://worldjusticeproject.org/…/WJP-ROLI-2018-June-Online…). Here, Sri Lanka’s rank in South Asia was 2 out of 6, whereas its rank in Asia was 7 out of 17. The second was the World Economic Forum’s Executive Opinion Survey 2017-2018 (for the survey, please see: http://reports.weforum.org/…/WEF_GCI_2017_2018_Scorecard_EO…). Sri Lanka’s rank in South Asia was 3 out of 5, whereas its rank in Asia was 12 out of 20. Both surveys show that the more localised the region of Asia taken into consideration, the higher the relative rank of Sri Lanka becomes. If the President had specified “South” Asia in his statement, we would have rated it as “True”.
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