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 Myopia of Economics Journalism

Picture credit: cogito ergo imago/flickr Jane Duncan - We warned you! Business journalist Rob Rose made this claim recently about the media’s reporting on the collapse of African Bank Investment Limited (ABIL). He argued that the business press locally and globally have been “calling it right for ages” when it came to the financial crisis that swept the world from 2008 onwards. Rose also took issue with economist Trudi Makhaya’s recent warning that South Africa lacked meaningful economics journalism. He disagreed with...

Gaza and the Tasks of Journalism

Picture credit: A woman is overcome and weeps at the destruction of her neighbourhood in Gaza courtesy Cintayati Jane Duncan - In the past few weeks, the South African media has been dominated by the unfolding catastrophe in Gaza and South Africans have had to rely largely on foreign coverage of this issue to understand it. The mainstream US media is still parroting the Israeli line that the country is acting in self-defence, or its right to be ‘free from tunnels and rockets’ in Secretary of State John Kerry’s words, but Israel is clearly meting out collective punishment to Palestinians. At a...

Biometric Smart ID Cards: Dumb Idea

Picture credit: Usability Geek Jane Duncan - Mauritius is known to South Africans mainly as a holiday destination, brimming with idyllic beaches, luxurious hotels and stunning scenery. However, there are other, less well-known ties that bind the two countries together. At the moment, both countries are introducing ‘smart’ ID cards, requiring their citizens to give biometric information to the government in the form of their fingerprints, to establish their legal identities. This information will also be recorded in...

The Net We Want

Picture credit: answermug.com Jane Duncan - One year ago today, The Guardian newspaper published National Security Agency (NSA) spy Edward Snowden’s revelations about mass surveillance in the US. Digital activists are marking this day by launching a ‘reset the net’ campaign to encourage internet users to take back the internet from the spies and to make it secure for use: a campaign that has received Snowden’s endorsement. Other forums have taken place recently, focussing on the broader principles that should...

The Dangers of Transactional Elections

Picture credit: Economic Freedom Fighters Jane Duncan - In a disappointing but not altogether unsurprising move, the communications regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has leapt to the defence of the censorious state broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and confirmed the de-facto ban of two opposition political advertisements for the national elections. Icasa is tasked with ensuring fairness of coverage for political parties during the electoral period. However, the fact that...

Cellphone Pricing Wars: Regulation Matters, but Ownership Matters More

Picture credit: Greg Laden Jane Duncan - Most South Africans are aware of the public spat between South Africa’s largest cellphone operators, MTN and Vodacom, on the one hand, and the smaller cellphone operators and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) on the other. The spat relates to Icasa’s attempt to bring down the cost of communications by gradually reducing the Mobile Termination Rates, or interconnection rates, through regulations. These are the rates that one network operator...