Jane Duncan

Jane Duncan

Jane Duncan is a Professor of Journalism at the University of Johannesburg. Before that she was Highway Africa Chair of Media and Information Society, School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University. Jane is a prominent media activist and former executive director of the Freedom of Expression Institute. She has three post-graduate degrees, and has written widely on media policy and media freedom issues.





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The Political Significance of South Africa's Protests

Picture: Protest in the Western Cape Jane Duncan - In the broader scheme of things, how significant are the recent wave of protests that have engulfed South Africa over the past decade? Are they another means of pressurising the ruling African National Congress (ANC) into delivering better services, or do they represent a new form of anti-systemic politics that promises to change how society is organised, and for the better? Scholars are divided on this issue. On the one hand, the South African Research Chair in Social Change –...

What Would a Meaningful Agenda for Human Rights Day in South Africa Look Like?

Picture: The Mass Burial of the Victims of the Sharpeville Massacre courtesy Baileys African History Archive Jane Duncan - On 21 March 1960, the apartheid police opened fire on a crowd of protestors in Sharpeville, killing 69 people. Five decades on, post-apartheid South Africa remembers these events on Human Rights Day. The government has attempted to depoliticise the event, shifting the day from one that is associated with the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) to one that South Africans generally commemorate, irrespective of their political persuasions. Yet the annual commemoration of this day did not stop a...

The Anti-Politics of Terrorism

Picture: Healing Pakistan Jane Duncan - Terrorism. In the wake of the recent attacks in Sydney, Paris and Baga, it’s a word that’s been on many people’s lips. After the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, some have argued vehemently against trying to explain the context in which terrorism arises as an attempt to be ‘soft’ on terrorism. Yet at the same time, it cannot be denied that the word terrorism is politically loaded. To name an attack as terrorist, rather than purely criminal, is to call on the...

The Cult of the Big Leader

Picture: Leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema and Cosatu General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi courtesy SABC Jane Duncan - How important are leaders to South Africa’s politics? Should they be allowed to make or break organisations? Two recent events held last month have thrown up these questions: Numsa’s United Front Assembly, held in Kempton Park and the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) first elective Peoples’ Assembly in Mangaung. In the case of the United Front, Ranjeny Munusamy lamented the absence of controversial Cosatu general-secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi. She argued that his...

Drones: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Picture: Aeryon Scout, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in flight courtesy Dkroetsch/Wikipedia Jane Duncan - Drones. Many South Africans are likely to think of lazy worker bees or boring people when they hear the word. But Pakistanis, Afghanis or Yemenis are likely to think of the unmanned planes sent by the Barack Obama administration that rain death on their heads.  Obama’s drone strikes are summary, extrajudicial executions. The victims never having a chance to defend themselves against the accusations made against them, namely that they are terrorists. Furthermore, these strikes...

Numsa's United Front: Forward to the Past?

Picture: Numsa Jane Duncan - The country’s largest trade union federation, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), has expelled the National Union of Metalworkers’ of South Africa (Numsa), for not supporting the African National Congress (ANC). Anyone in South Africa who doesn’t know this news must have been living under a rock for the past week. Numsa has been exploring political alternatives for the past year. In its December 2013 congress, it decided to launch a United Front to...