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Name: Jane Duncan
Department of Communication and Media Staff, Rated Researchers  Staff Members

Contact Details:
Tel: 011 559 3776


About Prof Jane Duncan

Prof Duncan holds a PhD from the Wits School of the Arts, University of the Witwatersrand, as well as a MA, Honours and BA in Fine Arts from the same university. She joined academia in 2009. Before joining UJ, she held the Chair in Media and Information Society in the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University, which was her first academic post. She was also co-Director of the Highway Africa Centre, devoted to promoting digital media in Africa.   Prof Duncan comes from a civil society background. She worked for the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) for 15 years, and was its Executive Director for eight of those years. Before joining the FXI, she worked in the community art centre movement, firstly at the African Institute for Art at the Funda Centre in Soweto, and then at the Afrika Cultural Centre in Newtown.   Together with Profs Julie Reid and Viola Milton, she is a co-founder of the Media Policy and Democracy Project (MPDP), a joint initiative of her current Department and the Department of Communication Science at the University of South Africa. The MPDP was established in 2012 to encourage participatory media and communications policy. In its five years of existence, it has conducted research that has influenced policy discussions around press transformation and accountability; media diversity; ICT policy and communications surveillance and privacy.   Prof Duncan’s research interests are informed by her work in civil society. Her recent work focusses on how national security practices are changing state/ society relations and impacting on spaces for political expression, especially dissent and the right to protest. She has also researched and supervised topics relating to media and communication policy. She also writes for the media, and is a contributor to the Daily Maverick, The Conversation, OpenDemocracy, News24 and the Mail & Guardian. She has also written for About.Intel, a blog on intelligence oversight, set up by the German think-tank Stiftung Neue Verantwortung. In 2022, the National Research Foundation awarded Prof Duncan a B2 rating.   PEER-REVIEWED BOOKS

  • National security surveillance in southern Africa: an anti-capitalist critique, London: Zed Books (forthcoming in 2022)
  • Stopping the spies: constructing and resisting the surveillance state in South Africa, Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 2018.
  • Protest nation: the right to protest in South Africa, University of KwaZulu/ Natal, 2016.
  • The rise of the securocrats: the case of South Africa, Johannesburg: Jacana Media, 2014.


  • ‘South Africa’s doctrinal decline on the right to protest: notification requirements and the shift from fundamental right to national security threat’. Constitutional Court Review 2020 (10): 227–249.
  • ‘Boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns as tools for change: lessons from South Africa’s cultural boycott’. Transformation: critical perspectives on Southern Africa (92): 60-83, 2016.
  • ‘Rethinking media diversity policy on the community press in South Africa’. Communicatio 41(4): 423-443, 2015.
  • ‘Debating ICT policy first principles for the global South: the case of South Africa’. Communicatio. Vol. 41(1), 2015, pp. 1-21.
  • ‘‘It’s not just the unions that are cut off from people, but the media too’: reconstituting South Africa’s mediated public sphere’. Acta Academia 46 (1), 2013: pp. 73-97.
  • ‘A political economy of press self-regulation: the case of South Africa’. Media, Culture and Society, Vol. 36(2), 2013, pp. 167-182.
  • Co-authored with Julie Reid, ‘Towards a measurement tool for the monitoring of media diversity and pluralism in South Africa: a public-centred approach’. Communicatio 39 (4), 2013.
  • ‘South African journalism and the Marikana massacre: a case study of an editorial failure’, The political economy of communication 1(2), 2013, available at:
  • ‘Mobile network society? Affordability and cellphone usage in Grahamstown East’, Communicatio 39 (1), 2013, pp. 279-292.
  • ‘The ANC’s poverty of strategy on media accountability’ Ecquid Novi 32(1), 2011.
  • ‘The uses and abuses of political economy: the ANC’s media policy’. Transformation 70, 2009, pp. 1-30.
  • ‘On libraries and intellectual self-defence’, Innovation: journal for appropriate librarianship and information work in Southern Africa 37, 2008.
  • ‘Executive overstretch: South African broadcasting independence and accountability under Thabo Mbeki’, in Communicatio 34(1), 2008.
  • ‘With us or against us? South Africa’s position in the war against terror’, Review of African Political Economy, September 2007.
  • ‘Talk left, act right: what constitutes transformation in the South African media?’, Communicatio 26(2), 2000.
  • ‘They Say Venda is Winning but we don’t See How: Artists from the North-Eastern Transvaal and the Struggle for Nationhood’, African Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, 1997.


  • ‘The enemy within: securitising protests as domestic instability, in Williams, M. and Satgar, V, Destroying democracy: neoliberal capitalism and the rise of authoritarian politics, Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 2021
  • ‘Policy choice or Policy choice or policy convergence? The media and information and communications technologies (ICTs) policies of South Africa’s major political parties, in Reid, J, Media diversity in South Africa: new concepts from the global South, London: Routledge, 2021.
  • ‘Beyond the Botnets: the media and the 2019 elections’, in Schulz-Herzenberg, C. and Southall, R, Election 2019: Change and stability in South Africa’s democracy, Johannesburg: KAS and Jacana media, 2019.
  • ‘Activist learning and state dataveillance: lessons from the UK, South Africa and Mauritius’, in Choudry, A (ed), Activists and the surveillance state: learning from repression, London: Pluto Press, 2019.
  • ‘Beyond human rights ideology: struggles for freedom of expression in South Africa’, in Sahle, E (ed), Human rights in Africa: issues and struggles, New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2019.
  • ‘Taking the spy machine South: communication surveillance in sub-Saharan Africa’, in Mutsvairo, B (ed), Palgrave Handbook for Media and Communication Research in Africa, New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2018
  • Policy choice or policy convergence? The media and Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) policies of South Africa’s major political parties, in Reid, J. and E. Louw, South African media diversity, Wits University Press, forthcoming 2018.
  • Pluralism with little diversity: the South African experience with media diversity, in Peggy Valcke, Miklós Sükösd and Robert G. Picard(eds). Media pluralism and diversity: concepts, risks and global trends. London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2016.
  • ‘The media and the 2014 elections: competition without diversity’, in Schulz-Herzeberg, C. and R. Southall, Election 2014 South Africa: the campaigns, results and future prospects. Johannesburg: Jacana Media and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, pp. 133-154.
  • ‘Voice, political mobilisation and repression under Jacob Zuma’, in Dawson, M. and Sinwell, L. 2012. Contesting transformation: problematising resistance in South Africa. London: Pluto Press.
  • ‘The print media transformation dilemma’, in Southall, R., Daniel, J., Naidoo, P., and Pillay, D. (eds). New South African Review 2011. Johannesburg: Wits University Press
  • ‘Thabo Mbeki and dissent’ in Glaser, D. 2010. Mbeki and after: reflections on the legacy of Thabo Mbeki. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.
  • ‘Desperately seeking depth: the media and the 2009 elections’, in Southall, R., and Daniel, J. 2009. Zunami! The 2009 South African elections. Johannesburg: Jacana publishers and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.
  • ‘Turning points in television policy and practice since 1990’ (co-authored chapter with Ian Glenn), in Chuma, W. and Moyo, D. 2009. Policing the Fourth Estate: Media Policy in SADC. Pretoria: Unisa Press.
  • ‘From National to Global Apartheid: Ten years of broadcasting in a democratic South Africa’, in Ollorunisola, A (ed.). 2006. Media in South Africa After Apartheid: A Cross-Media Assessment. Edwin Mellen Press: Pennsylvania.
  • ‘Talk left, Act Right: what constitutes transformation in Southern African media?’ in Tomaselli, K. and Dunn, H. (eds). Media, Democracy and Renewal in Southern Africa. Colorado Springs: International Academic Publishers. 25-40.
  • ‘How cultural policy creates inequality: the case of the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council and its Biennale project’, in Kriger, R. and Zegeye, A. 2001. Culture in the New South Africa. Cape Town: Kwela Books (part of the Social Identities South Africa Series).