A free online course in “Civil Society and African Media Policy in the Digital Age” will be launched soon in honour of the contributions of the late Jeanette Minnie in the area of freedom of expression and press freedom in Southern Africa.
The course is an initiative to celebrate and continue the work of Jeanette Minnie who was a former stalwart of the Global Fund for Media Development (GFMD). She passed away in 2016.
The Jeanette Minnie Online Course in “Civil Society and African Media Policy in the Digital Age” initiative is being established to provide a knowledge-building resource that can empower civil society and media actors to improve policy, law and regulation for free, pluralistic and independent African media in the digital age.
This proposed online course in her name would be available free of charge to users, empowering them with knowledge of the evolution of African media policy over the past two decades and lessons thereof, and an understanding of current challenges in the digital age.
The course is proposed as a stand-alone value to civil society activists, journalists and other media sector actors, ministry officials, regulators and Parliamentarians or to serve as a supplement to African media courses for postgraduate students at tertiary institutions.
The LINK Centre at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) has offered to host the course, ensure marketing thereof, and provide, in consultation with the service provider that develops the course, a point of human contact for learners.
The exact curriculum for this online course is to be developed by a consultant, through a methodology involving consultation with, among others, the Advisory Committee.
Topics that could be covered in, for example, eight modules might include: Principles of freedom of expression and media freedom; The right of access to information; Regulatory histories; Self-regulation/co-regulation vs. statutory regulation of the Media; Broadcasting regulation; Media diversity regulation, support; Internet; Civil society and African media policy: Past, present, future; and Civil society and African media policy: Past, present, future.
When operative, participants in the online course would need to register and receive a password for access to the course, which would be available on an ongoing basis. The learning would not require an external evaluation process such as student assignments.
A leading media activist during her career, Jeanette Minnie was a history maker in the realm of freedom of expression and press freedom in southern Africa. She was an international consultant, specialising in both freedom of expression and the development of democracy.
She succeeded in building alliances and organisations, starting in the 1990s with South Africa, and then working across southern African region. Her 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 journalism.
She was also known by the name of her consultancy service, Zambezi FoX. Before launching Zambezi FoX in 2000, Jeanette served as Regional Director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) and was active in a variety of media freedom and freedom of expression initiatives. She travelled to over 50 countries in Africa, West and Eastern Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia in the course of her career.