How To Fact-Check Data and Statistics in Political Claims
Wondering how to verify data and numbers quoted by politicians and public figures? Watch this video to find out.
Editorial Inputs: Kritika
Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma
Camera: Yashpal Singh and Gautam Sharma
Notice how before every election, politicians and political parties put out big numbers to talk highly about their tenure?
Oftentimes, such claims are seasoned with a pinch of misinformation and politicians do that because:
It is difficult to remember such data
People often believe them when numbers are quoted
How Do We Look for Such Data?
Let's take the example of crime data and look at a recent claim made by the founder of Isha Foundation, Jagadish 'Jaggi' Vasudev, also known as Sadhguru. He claimed that India had not witnessed any major riots in the past 10 years.
But this doesn't sound right, does it?
To verify this claim, we looked up the data on riots. Now, we know the internet is extremely vast and it's difficult to sift through the search results to get the information we are looking for.
So, here's a hack. We used important keywords to narrow down our search results.
Data on crime is collated by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), which is under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). To look for results from the NCRB's website, we used the following keywords – "data of riots in India" site:ncrb.gov.in
To further narrow down the search results, we looked for reports in the PDF format by typing "filetype: pdf".
We further narrowed down the search results by adding a time filter.
In the same way, I can look for other statistics on government websites, based on the data provided by various ministries.
For example, data on health is available in the annual 'National Family Health Survey' report.
Data on economy, social, and demographic indicators is compiled and made available on the website of the Reserve Bank of India.
The unemployment figures are available on the website of CMIE, an independent think tank, as well as the Periodic Labour Force Surveys, compiled by the National Statistical Office (NSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
(This is the eighth and final video of a series titled 'Verify Kiya Kya?' exploring the nuances of fact-checking and media literacy. You can look at the other stories in the series here. Keep verifying and don't be a WebQoof!)
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