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Civil Society and African Media Policy in the Digital Age

Jeanette Minnie Memorial Course

A free, six-week online MOOC, offered on the WitsX edX platform and delivered by LINK Centre academics in cooperation with other African media policy experts. Course began 10 October 2018.

Next offering will be in 2019: Dates to be announced.

This course aims to empower civil society actors in support of a free, pluralistic and independent African media. It seeks to sustain the work of the late South African activist, Jeanette Minnie, who was devoted to robust civil society engagement with African media policy.  Media play a critical role in democratic societies by informing citizens, facilitating and building freedom of expression, and fostering access to information. This course will help you to identify the principles and components of democratic media policy and practice, and to identify strategies for effective civil society engagement with these matters in African settings.

About Jeanette Minnie
Jeanette Minnie (pictured right), who passed away in George, South Africa, on 2 November 2016, was a leading media activist during her career. Minnie was a maker of history in the realm of freedom of expression and press freedom in southern Africa. She succeeded in building alliances and organisations, starting in the 1990s in South Africa and then working across Southern Africa.

Minnie's work showed the value of civil society and media personnel in impacting on state policy, law and administrative action in the interests of freedom, pluralism and independence for media. This online course in Jeanette Minnie’s name follows within, and helps to sustain, this tradition of promoting the value of bottom-up contributions to African media policymaking and implementation.

Course content
Participants will learn:

  • How to identify the core elements of the principles of freedom of expression, media freedom, and access to information
  • The policy and practical components required by a democratic media ecosystem
  • Regulatory and other measures that build media pluralism and diversity
  • The mechanisms of self-regulation, co-regulation, statutory regulation and regulatory independence in democratic media ecosystems
  • How to identify the practical and policy dimensions introduced by online media, online expression, and online information access
  • Strategies for effective civil society engagement with policy and practice in support of democratic Africa media ecosystems

Course development and management are by WitsX and the Wits LINK Centre. The course Instructors are Prof. Justine Limpitlaw (Wits LINK Centre), Paula Fray (frayintermedia), Zoe Titus (Namibia Media Trust), Dr. Sarah Chiumbu (University of Johannesburg), Koketso Moeti (, Dr. Chris Armstrong (Wits LINK Centre). The course Advisory Committee includes Prof. Justine Limpitlaw, Zoe Titus, Hendrik Bussiek, Dr. Chris Armstrong and Pierre Minnie (Honourary Member).

Funding support for course research, content development, piloting, and marketing is being provided by Bertha FoundationNamibia Media Trust (NMT) and fesmedia Africa

The service provider for course research, content development, piloting and marketing is frayintermedia.

Target participants, enrolment
The course provides a knowledge-building resource to empower civil society actors to improve policy, law and regulation for free, pluralistic and independent African media in the digital age. 

This course will be of value to civil society actors and organisations; to post-secondary students; to researchers and academics; to journalists and editors; and to ministry officials, regulators and Parliamentarians. It will also serve as a supplementary resource for providers of media and journalism courses at tertiary education institutions. Participants can take the course, including participation in its discussion forums, assignments and assessments, free of charge. Participants seeking to also receive a Verified Certificate of Achievement for the course, endorsed by edX and Wits University, pay USD49. 

Go to course page on edX platform.