Wits University Launches Free Online Course

Adam Habib, Vice-chancellor, Wit University
Adam Habib, Vice-chancellor, Wit University

The Wits University’s Learning Information Networking Knowledge (LINK) Centre and WitsX have launched free online courses for civil society and media practitioners and called for applications.

The free, six-week online course titled: “Civil Society and African Media Policy in the Digital Age” available on the  edX platform aims to empower civil society actors – including advocacy coalition members, NGO/CBO representatives, union members, journalists, editors, researchers, academics and post-secondary students – to work in support of free, pluralistic and independent African media. The course will also be of value to media owners, government policymakers, Parliamentarians and regulators working towards media sector reform.

The course has been developed to honour and sustain the legacy of South African media freedom and freedom of expression activist Jeanette Minnie, who passed away in November 2016. Minnie devoted her professional life to ensuring robust civil society engagement with African media policy.

In the Reporters Without Borders 2018 World Press Freedom Index, which evaluates 180 countries, only eight African countries are ranked among the top 50 nations in terms of media freedom: Ghana (23rd), Namibia (26th), South Africa (28th), Cape Verde (29th), Burkina Faso (41st), Botswana (48th), Comoros (49th), and Senegal (50th). Meanwhile, four African countries are ranked among the 10 worst for media freedom:  Equatorial Guinea (171st), Djibouti (173rd), Sudan (174th), and Eritrea (179th). This course provides participants with the knowledge necessary to work towards more African countries becoming favourable media-freedom environments.

Interested participants will be taught 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

Participants can take the course, including participation in its discussion forums, assignments and assessments, free of charge. Participants who want to also receive a Verified Certificate of Achievement for the course, endorsed by edX and Wits University, pay USD49.

Interested participants wishing to enroll for the course can go to this edX course link.