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Media Freedom and Freedom of Expression in Africa

Jeanette Minnie Memorial Course

This is a free, seven-week online MOOC, offered on the WitsX edX platform and delivered by LINK Centre's Prof. Justine Limpitlaw in cooperation with other African media policy experts. The 2021 offering of this course is in progress, running until 18 October. 

This course aims to empower activists, students, regulators, journalists, lawyers, and everyone interested in ensuring 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 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
  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on journalists and the media

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

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

Marketing is supported by frayintermedia and fraycollege.

Target participants, enrolment
Activists, students, regulators, journalists, lawyers, and everyone interested in ensuring media freedom and freedom of expression in Africa.

Details of the next offering of this course are still to be determined.