The Wits LINK Centre and WitsX has opened registration for the first offering of the free, six-week, online course “Civil Society and African Media Policy in the Digital Age” which starts on October 10, 2018. It was 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.
This free-of-charge Massive Open Online Course is available on the edX platform and 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.
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:
The top five includes Ghana at 23 followed by Namibia (26), South Africa (28), Cape Verde (29) and Burkina Faso at 41. Botswana, Comoros, and Senegal are the last three in the top 50 ranking at 48, 49 and 50 respectively.
Meanwhile, four African states are ranked among the 10 worst countries for media freedom. Equatorial Guinea is at 171, Djibouti is ranked 173 and Sudan is at 174. Eritrea, ranked at 179, is the worst.
This course provides participants with the knowledge necessary to work towards more African countries becoming favourable media-freedom environments.
The course offers the following:
Tools for identifying core elements of the principles of freedom of expression, media freedom, and access to information.
An understanding of policy and practical components required for a democratic media ecosystem.
Knowledge regulatory and other measures that build media pluralism and diversity.
A grasp of mechanisms of self-regulation, co-regulation, statutory regulation and regulatory independence in democratic media ecosystems.
Skills 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 who want to receive the Verified Certificate of Achievement endorsed by edX and Wits University pay $49.
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 (Amandla.mobi), and Dr. Chris Armstrong (Wits LINK Centre).
Course content was developed by the instructors with support from an international Advisory Committee and frayintermedia.
The Bertha Foundation, Namibia Media Trust (NMT) and fesmedia Africa provided funding for course research, development, piloting and marketing. To enrol for the course go to this edX course link.