We are over a year into the Covid-19 pandemic, and journalists have learnt many lessons, but consolidation and documentation of these lessons for Africans has been lacking.
The South African National Editors Forum (SANEF), together with fraycollege and Internews are developing a guide for reporting on the pandemics including Covid-19 for African journalists.
Our continent is lagging behind in terms of vaccinations and the pandemic is likely to remain top on African journalists’ agendas.
Some internationally-produced toolkits on handling the pandemic have not dealt directly and in-depth with the unique challenges of reporting in an African context. Knowledge about how to report safely, taking into consideration the socio-economic dynamics of the context are critical.
The guide, due to be released in July, includes sections on the journalists’ responsibilities in reporting, the personal safety for journalists in the field, how journalists should negotiate working agreements for reporting for their and their sources’ safety, mental health and other topics. It includes great stories as exemplars.
Journalism educators who wish to get an electronic copy or participate in the webinar launch in July can give their details here.
New resource to improve media policy understanding
Any gains made in terms of media freedom have been won by concentrated action on the part of media and civil society.
- Jeanette Minnie
In memory of Jeanette Minnie – a tireless activist for good media policy in Africa – and based on the input from media policy experts from across the world, a handbook for journalism and media educators is being produced. It will improve the understanding of policy, law and regulation for free, pluralistic and independent African media in the digital age.
Namibian Media Trust (NMT) and fraycollege want to ensure that new generations of journalists and activists have the capability to continue to push good media policy that supports democracy. This has never been more urgent in the wake of the current pandemic, where information is both critical and is very vulnerable to interference from government and other actors.
In 2018, in memory of Jeanette Minnie, these global experts put together a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), hosted on EdX in association with the Link Center and the University of the Witwatersrand. It will be run again in 2021.
Materials have developed over the years, including case studies from various African countries on media restrictions and how they have been overcome by various actors. These materials are to be reworked as a handbook for journalism educators to promote the understanding of media policy.
The handbook will be available in November 2021.
We encourage all media academics and educators to sign up to receive the guide.
About Jeanette Minnie
Jeannette Minnie succeeded in building alliances and organisations, starting in the 1990s with South Africa, and then working across Southern Africa. Her work has shown the value of civil society and media personnel in impacting on state policy, law and administration.