TUNISIA

Academics perceive threat to university freedom

When Tunisians revolted against the Ben Ali regime in January 2011, the protesters were joined by many academics hoping to see an end to censorship. But newly won freedom for research and teaching in Tunisia again finds itself under threat, writes Martina Sabra for http://Quantara.de.

Friday, 30 March 2013: The large lecture hall in the science faculty at the El Manar campus university in Tunis is full to bursting. Some 200 academics from all over Tunisia and abroad have gathered for the World Social Forum. The only subject on the agenda is freedom for research and tuition in Tunisia. The academics are here to sound alarm bells. They perceive this hard-won freedom of speech and autonomy for Tunisian universities to be under threat.

Habib Mellakh, a professor of French literature at La Manouba University, is a member of the Monitoring Centre for the Observance of Academic Freedoms in Tunisia. The committee presented its most recent report in March. It claims that attacks on Tunisian universities by religious extremists are coordinated and not isolated incidents.
Full report on the http://Qantara.de site