18 August 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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Academic Freedom
THAILAND
Call for release of student imprisoned for Facebook post
Scholars at Risk has called on the global academic community to join a campaign urging the Thai authorities to release from prison and drop lèse majesté charges against law student and activist Jatupat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa for a Facebook post.
TURKEY
Purge of academics has reached a 'staggering' scale – SAR
In the year since the attempted coup in Turkey, a “staggering” number of academics have faced criminal investigations, detentions, prosecutions, mass dismissal, expulsion and restrictions on travel, according to the head of Scholars at Risk or SAR, the New York-based scholar rescue network.
NIGERIA
Senate rejects closure of campus over terror attacks
The University of Maiduguri in north east Nigeria is to remain open despite ongoing terror attacks by Islamic terror group Boko Haram after Nigeria’s Senate resolved to push for tighter campus security and to keep the university open as a symbol of triumph over the extremist group and its ideas.
TURKEY
Sharp drop in research output after purge of academics
A new report claims that the short-term effects of the large-scale purge carried out by the Turkish government since the failed coup attempt a year ago include a 28% drop in research output of academics based in Turkey in 2017.
GERMANY-TURKEY
Links with Turkey vital amid clampdown, academics say
The mass dismissals of academics in Turkey and the clampdown on academic freedom there have had a profound effect on academic cooperation with Germany. But at this moment universities need to maintain their links with Turkey’s universities to keep windows and minds open, academics argue.
TURKEY-UNITED STATES
Turkish scholars in US face dilemma on speaking out
Turkish academics in the United States have found themselves in a precarious position since the Turkish government’s sweeping response to the attempt to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a year ago. They feel a duty to speak out against suppression of academic freedom but fear the consequences for their family and friends.
EGYPT
Greater curbs on academic freedom in 2017 – Report
Egyptian authorities have tightened restrictions on university lecturers and students this year as part of an ongoing state-led crackdown that started more than three years ago, a report by a rights group has shown.
UGANDA
Calls to drop charges against outspoken academic
Human rights group Amnesty International has called for all charges to be dropped against outspoken Ugandan academic Stella Nyanzi who was last Wednesday released on bail after spending four weeks in prison on charges related to Facebook criticism of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
TURKEY
Call for academic boycott to end unlawful intimidation
Signing petitions of support for the academics facing persecution in Turkey is not enough. We need to take much more vigorous action. An international academic boycott of Turkish universities, research institutions, trusts and foundations, and targeted action against those initiating intimidatory and unlawful action against academics, can no longer be avoided.
EUROPE
Time for Bologna to stand up for academic freedom
The attack on the Central European University marks a critical moment for the European Union. Silence implies weakness. It is time for Bologna to break with the convention of not making announcements between political meetings and seize the opportunity to defend academic freedom. Photo credit: EPA
EGYPT
The strangling of a democratic student movement
There have been more than 2,300 human rights violations against students since the army's overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. The ensuing state-led crackdown on universities, including measures to silence students and other critical actors in society, signals an imminent crisis for higher education, according to a new report.
UAE
Academic jailed for 10 years for human rights tweets
Dr Nasser Bin Ghaith, a prominent economist, academic and human rights defender, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for tweeting criticism of the human rights record of both Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Before the verdict was given, a coalition of 10 human rights organisations had urged the United Arab Emirates authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him.
HUNGARY
Independent thinking under attack from nationalists
Amendments to higher education law proposed by the Hungarian government target one international university in particular – the Central European University, which played a central role in rebuilding democracy across the region – and are aimed at forcing it to shut down. It is part of an emerging trend of seeing universities as a threat.
NORWAY
Academia needs to be ready to defend its freedom
Academic freedom is about the right to freely think, question and share ideas. Now more than ever there is a great need to join forces to promote the academic freedom of university staff, students and higher education institutions around the globe.
IRAN
Iranian scholar faces threat of death sentence
Dr Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian-born scholar imprisoned in Iran since April 2016 in connection with international collaboration with scholars from countries considered to be 'enemy states', has been threatened with a charge that carries the death sentence, according to human rights organisations. He was collaborating with Iranian universities in his capacity as a visiting professor on disaster medicine.
GLOBAL
How should universities confront a post-truth world?
Universities need to defend academic freedom and research by re-establishing a respect for objective truth and powerful arguments. They must become trust-builders as well as truth-seekers by creating many more arenas for debate.
CANADA
Can academic freedom make space for minority groups?
A debate about academic freedom versus inclusivity has hit the headlines, but what it shows more than anything is a need for our understanding of academic freedom to evolve so inclusivity and academic freedom can be seen as complementary forces.
CANADA
Can academic freedom make space for minority groups?
A debate about academic freedom versus inclusivity has hit the headlines, but what it shows more than anything is a need for our understanding of academic freedom to evolve so inclusivity and academic freedom can be seen as complementary forces.
TURKEY
Is imprisoned academic a victim of a mass witchhunt?
A letter from a prominent academic held without trial in a Turkish prison, passed to University World News in a week when 73 more academics have been detained, raises questions about whether academics are being rounded up as part of a legitimate investigation into real threats to the state or to clamp down on dissenting voices.
EUROPE
Turkey’s trampling of freedoms is Europe’s problem too
The threats to academics in Turkey are part of a wider European problem of a growing illiberalism that we must all confront. Academic freedom is an ongoing process that must be constantly fought for.
ZIMBABWE
Of spies, academic freedom and institutional autonomy
At the start of his first lecture with a group of new students a prominent University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer always used to say: “I know there are spies among you sent to record what I say in my lectures – go ahead, I don’t care.” But he was an exception and today there remain many reasons for academics to fear criticising the government.
UAE
Academic faces up to 15 years in jail for tweets
United Arab Emirates authorities have violated basic rights and academic freedom in their prosecution of the Emirati academic Dr Nasser bin Ghaith, a coalition of nine human rights organisations said on 13 October.
AUSTRALIA
Changes to academic contracts threaten free speech
Some universities are attempting to insert new clauses into their employment contracts that aim to limit academics’ ability to speak freely in public debate.
RUSSIA
Calls for prosecution over PhD thesis on Soviet traitor
A leading historian of Russia's little known wartime collaboration with Nazi Germany is facing calls for a criminal investigation after defending his PhD thesis on a Red Army general who turned traitor against Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and led a small Russian force against the Soviet side in the latter stages of the war.
THAILAND
Threats to government critics – and their families
Academics are being threatened and harassed for criticising the Thai regime and the West is turning a blind eye.