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ABC launches Fact Check website to test accuracy of public announcements

In the second week of Australia’s hotly contested federal election campaign, the country’s public broadcaster ABC has launched its Fact Check website which it says will check for accuracy of claims made by public figures and provide more understanding of contentious issues in public debates.

According to the ABC, its Fact Check Unit was set up to assess the accuracy of claims made by politicians, public figures, advocacy groups and significant institutions engaged in the national conversation. The purpose of Fact Check website it says, is “to provide clarity and understanding around contentious issues in the public debate. The focus will be on statements that can be tested rather than opinion and inflated political statements made in the heat of the election campaign.”

Fact Check Editor Russell Skelton said ABC Fact Check would strive to provide context, insight and understanding to the claims made. “We will avoid gotcha journalism and embarrassing slips and examine the issues we believe resonate with the public debate. Our interest is in the accuracy and relevancy of claims rather than pontificating on what is true or false with tabloid descriptions,” Skelton said.

Skelton added that all deliberations would be transparent and evidence based with sources being clearly stated and linked to. “We know the accuracy of statements can change with time and that people can have differing interpretations of events and statistics. We will revise and update conclusions in the light of changing circumstances and new information.”