The course is in honour of Jeanette Minnie, media freedom stalwart during apartheid

Wits LINK Centre and WitsX launched a six-week free online short course on “Media freedom and freedom of expression in Africa” on September 6.

Professor Justine Limpitlaw, the course developer said this course is relevant to South Africa’s current political climate of xenophobia as it addresses issues of disinformation and misinformation.

“We have been working tirelessly on the course, only for its launch to coincide with the current political situation in our country. The spread of misinformation on social media has been shocking. I wish people take advantage of this free course so they can be informed.”

The aim of the course is to provide participants with the knowledge necessary to work towards African countries becoming favourable media freedom environments.

The course is run on the edX learning platform and aims to empower activists, students, regulators, journalists, lawyers, and everyone interested in ensuring a free, pluralistic and independent African media.

The course was developed to honour South African media freedom and freedom of expression activist Jeanette Minnie, who passed away in 2016, and is in its second running after it was cancelled in 2018, revised and then updated.

“After the course’s first running in 2018 we received feedback and decided to renew it and make the content cumbersome.

“We also wanted to properly honour Jeanette Minnie and her family because she devoted her professional life to ensuring robust civil society engagement with African media policy and she was an advocate for media freedom in Africa,” said Limpitlaw

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. The online course follows the stalwart’s legacy and helps to sustain the tradition of promoting the value of bottom-up contributions to African media policymaking and implementation.

“The course is run for six weeks online and is archived thereafter, so it can be used as a resource. This is done so that it will always be available for those who seek to know more about media freedom but have no means besides on academic platforms,” Limpitlaw told Wits Vuvuzela.

Applications are open and the course commences on Friday, October 4.

FEATURED IMAGE: Tshimologong Precinct which houses the Wits LINK centre where the Jeanette Minnie memorial course on “Media Freedom and Freedom of Expression in Africa” is offered. Photo: Anathi Madubela