Source: Times Lives
The BBC in January this year published a story with the headline: “Why are teenage pregnancies rising in Africa?” Africa Check‚ an independent‚ non-partisan organisation which assesses claims made in the public arena‚ said it had proved this headline not to be based on fact‚ prompting the BBC to change it.
In April the British Broadcaster changed the headline to read: “Why are teenage pregnancies rising in South Africa?” But Africa Check says there is no evidence that teenage pregnancies in South Africa are on the rise.
The non-partisan organisation relied on numbers from Statistics South Africa that looked at a six- year period from 2009 to 2015.
According to Dr Isabelle Schmidt‚ the chief director of social statistics‚ the latest trend on teenage pregnancies seemed “fairly stable”.
"When I look at the long-term trends between 2009 and 2014‚ I would say that overall it has remained fairly stable albeit with some fluctuations from year to year. However‚ there was a slight decline between 2013 and 2014‚” Schmidt said.
Africa Check then sourced out figures from the Demographic and Health Surveys‚ citing a slow decline in pregnancies since the 1980s.
Samantha Willan‚ development manager at the What Works To Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls programme‚ attributes the “slight decline” to the conversations and openness about “reproduction‚ health and sexuality”.
Willan said the reason why the decline wasn't high enough could be attributed to issues like “inequality‚ poverty and gender-based violence‚” not receiving the attention they needed.
“[This is] the context within which policies and interventions are being implemented‚” Willan said.
Africa Check said “by changing their headline to imply that teen pregnancies are rising in South Africa the BBC once again got it wrong”.