This year’s G-20 Factcheckathon was coordinated through the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, an initiative that began this year as a result of the growing global movement. The initiative is funded by the Omidyar Network and the National Endowment for Democracy, and headed by Alexios Mantzarlis, co-founder of Pagella Politica, Italy’s largest political fact-checking organization.
Twelve fact-checking outlets from 10 countries, including The Fact Checker and PolitiFact in the United States, participated in the Factcheckathon, verifying claims made by respective political leaders. Not all fact-checking outlets use a rating system. Below are summaries from each fact-checker and this Poynter roundup, with links to the original pieces.
Barack Obama, president of the United States
The Washington Post Fact Checker
“On the humanitarian front, our nations agreed that we have to do even more individually and collectively to address the agony of the Syrian people. The United States is already the largest donor of humanitarian aid to the Syrian people, some $4.5 billion in aid so far.”
While Obama says the humanitarian aid goes to “the Syrian people,” a portion of the aid is given to host countries so that they have enough resources to accept and support refugees. The United States consistently has been the largest donor of humanitarian aid for the Syria conflict, using raw dollars. Of course, there are other ways to calculate the donation — as a percentage of GDP, for example. But no other country comes close when comparing the actual dollars contributed, committed and/or pledged. We rated this claim true, and awarded a Geppetto Checkmark.
“The United States [is] the largest provider of humanitarian assistance to displaced persons and refugees.”
This is similar to the claim above, but Obama spoke in general terms. PolitiFact found that America gives more humanitarian aid than any other country, and ranks first in supporting the United Nations in helping refugees. While this is true in financial support, countries also host refugees and provide humanitarian assistance in ways that can’t easily be tallied. PolitiFact found it’s important to acknowledge other forms of assistance. PolitiFact rated this “Mostly True.”
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, president of Turkey
Doğruluk Payı (Turkey)
“Minimum wage in Europe is about 200 euros.”
The Turkish president was way off. Eurostat data as of July 2015 show the only country with minimum wage under 200 euros is Bulgaria (194 euros). The average amount of minimum wage for 23 EU countries whose minimum wage data is available is approximately 790 euros. This claim is rated “False.”
Read the full fact-check (in Turkish) here.
Doğruluk Payı’s Ferdi Ferhat Özsoy compiled a video component for this year’s G-20 Factcheckathon, available below.
Jean-Claude Juncker, E.U. Commission president
Pagella Politica (Italy)
“The measures that have been put into place in Europe up to now respect the Schengen Agreements. The decisions of the French President to reimpose controls on borders are expressly permitted by Schengen as a reaction to an event of this type.”
Schengen is considered one of the biggest accomplishments for European Union integration. With the recent refugee crisis, many member states decided to limit the freedom of movement introduced by the agreement. Juncker stated that France’s decision to reimpose controls on borders is something permitted by Schengen. The agreement itself does include the possibility to reintroduce controls for maximum one month. With a 2013 regulation, under exceptional circumstances, member states were given the possibility to extend this period, from six to 24 months. This statement is rated “True.”
Read the full fact-check (in Italian) here.
Enrique Peña Nieto, president of Mexico
El Sabueso (Mexico)
“The National Infrastructure Program is managing a 7.7 billion-peso investment with the commitment to build 52 new highways. We have already completed 17, adding more than 1,000 kilometers of highway.”
Of the 17 highways that the Mexican president claimed to have completed as a part of a national infrastructure plan, five were completed during previous administrations. Three others were extensions or lane expansions. This claim is rated “Deceitful.”
Read the full fact-check (in Spanish) here.
Dilma Rousseff, president of Brazil
Aos Fatos (Brazil)
Aos Fatos and Lupa (below), fact-checking organizations in Brazil, checked numerous claims by Rouseff. One of the claims was that Brazil “was the government that has decreased taxes the most. It’s not a matter of opinion, but numbers.” But Aos Fatos found the numbers don’t support this claim. It was unclear exactly which governments were being compared, either. This claim is rated “False.”
Lupa checked five claims by the Brazilian president, including a claim that in 2015, there were more than 1 million new openings for students at technical schools. Yet there was no public data available to verify the information. Lupe found that the 2015 census of basic education and higher education (a public document that show the number of registrations made in each segment of Brazilian education) has not been published yet. This claim is rated “Unsustainable.”
Read this fact-check (in Portuguese) here.
Park Geun-hye, president of South Korea
JTBC News “Fact Check” (South Korea)
Park said that in the first half of 2015, 46,000 companies were created through the Creative Economy plan, and that the policy was deemed successful by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. “Fact Check” host and reporter Kim Pil-Gyu found that while the number of newly established start-ups is increasing, it is difficult to say it was the result of the Creative Economy plan. And the plan was named a case of “innovative economy strategy” in the OECD report, but the word “successful” could not be found.
Watch this fact-check segment (in Korean) here.
Jacob Zuma, president of South Africa
Africa Check (South Africa)
“In South Africa, we are taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint. We have managed to attract investment of over $14 million for the construction of about 6,000 MW of renewable energy.”
Zuma vastly understated the investment South Africa’s renewable energy program attracted. Independent power producers has pledged about $13.4 billion in investment — nearly 100 times the $14 million figure that Zuma cited in the speech. This claim rated “False.”
David Cameron, British prime minister
Full Fact (United Kingdom)
“Britain is already the second largest contributor to the humanitarian crisis [in Syria] — providing 1.1 billion pounds in vital life-saving assistance.”
The claim that the British government is the second-largest contributor of humanitarian aid to Syria is correct, according to the United Nations. It gives details for “total funding (appeal and non-appeal) to the Syria crisis” over the past four years. At over $1.5 billion, Britain has contributed more than any other individual country bar the United States.
Narendra Modi, Indian prime minister
“Our programmes of inclusive development, including Financial Inclusion, universal access to basic needs by target year, Make in India, Skill India, Digital India, Industrial Corridors and Smart Cities, will boost growth and employment in India.”
Factchecker.in took a deeper look at each of the five economic-development programs that Modi described at the summit. For each program, Factchecker.in provided context and a status update on its progress.
Justin Trudeau, Canadian prime minister
“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon at the G20 Summit in Turkey”
This was a caption under a photo on a news release published on the Canadian prime minister’s Web site following the summit. While the caption identified Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. secretary general, it actually was Jim Kim, president of the World Bank. Oops. The caption was corrected after the fact-check was published, which rated this caption “False.”
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