Academic Freedom Media Review Archive

Scholars at Risk monitors reports of threats to academic freedom and higher education communities worldwide, including media articles, blogs, opinion pieces and other announcements.  Scholars at Risk identifies situations of concern on its own and welcomes reports submitted by faculty, students and volunteers at participating higher education institutions. Subscribe to SAR’s weekly media review

The below articles have been featured in this year’s media reviews.

Hong Kong student who helped found volunteer protest medic group arrested in China, classmates say
Hong Kong Free Press, 01/17
A Hong Kong student who helped found a network of volunteer medics to aid the city’s pro-democracy protests has been arrested on the mainland, fellow students briefed by his university have told AFP. Read more.

Occupy ringleader Shiu Ka-chun accuses Hong Kong university of ‘political cleansing’ after he is relieved of teaching post
Danny Lee, South China Morning Post, 01/17
Pro-democracy legislator Shiu Ka-chun has been relieved of his teaching post at Baptist University after being jailed for his role in the 2014 Occupy protest. The university has launched disciplinary proceedings against the department of social work lecturer, who served almost six months in prison last year after being found guilty of two public nuisance charges. Read more.

Top Russian university moves to ban political speech
The Moscow Times, 01/17
One of Russia’s elite universities is considering banning its students and faculty from exercising political speech in the wake of high-profile scandals involving free speech last year, according to its newly proposed rules. Read more.

‘You can’t handcuff my spirit’: Jailed writer wins freedom of expression prize
Alice McCool, The Guardian, 01/17
The Ugandan academic, writer and feminist activist Dr Stella Nyanzi, imprisoned for criticising the country’s president, has been awarded the Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression. Read more.

‘Attacks on academic freedom anywhere threaten us all’ (Portuguese)
Renata Cafardo, O Estado de S. Paulo, 01/15
Brazil appears for the first time in a report that monitors attacks on higher education across the world, alongside countries like China and Turkey. ‘We are deeply concerned,’ says Scholars at Risk’s Director of Advocacy, Clare Robinson. Read more.

Anti-regime student protests erupt after jet disaster
Shadi Khan Saif, University World News, 01/14
Undeterred by oppressive regime tactics, university students in Iran have put up a gradual yet defiant show of resentment towards the ruling religious elite with their latest protests triggered by the shooting down of a passenger plane outside Tehran by the powerful Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), killing all 176 on board, many of them students. Read more.

Protect India’s universities
Nature, 01/14
For several weeks the world has watched as India’s citizens — including academics and students — have taken to the streets. Tens of thousands have been gathering to read out the preamble to the Indian constitution, as a mark of protest against a discriminatory new citizenship law. Read more.

Behind campus attack in India, some see a far-right agenda
Kai Schultz and Suhasini Raj, The New York Times, 01/10
Hindu nationalists view Jawaharlal Nehru University, where a mob rampaged last weekend, as “a symbol of everything that is bad in this country,” one analyst said. Read more.

France calls for ‘gesture’ from Iran over detained academics
France 24, 01/10
France said on Friday that the imprisonment of two prominent French academics by Iran was unacceptable and that their release would represent a “significant gesture”, as tensions mount between Tehran and the West. Read more.

Freedom curbs raise academic collaboration uncertainty
Yojana Sharma, University World News, 01/10
Academic experts say universities in Western democracies should review their engagements with universities in China to gauge whether dramatically tightened restrictions and recent Communist Party-imposed reviews of Chinese university charters – aimed at reducing commitments to freedom of thought – are eroding academic freedom standards outside China. Read more.

Russian ‘foreign agent’ rules are chilling academic freedom
Katarzyna Kaczmarska, Times Higher Education, 01/08
As pressing political and social issues in contemporary Russia become harder and harder to discuss through online and artistic media, it may seem that academia is the only sphere left in which critical debate enjoys a relatively safe haven. However, while freedom of thought and research are legally protected under articles 29 and 44 of Russia’s 1993 constitution, academic freedom is increasingly under threat. Read more.

‘The police did nothing.’ Students in India are protesting after a masked mob violently attacked a top Delhi university
Sameer Yasir and Billy Perrigo, Time, 01/07
Nursing a bandaged right hand and bruises on his back from where he was struck with a rod, Santosh Singh says he no longer feels safe at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, where he is a masters student. Read more.

Sudan’s revolution, phase 2: Universities seek independence
Edward Fox, Al-Fanar Media, 01/06
A plan for educational reform written by teaching staff at Sudan’s oldest and largest public university, the University of Khartoum, calls for Sudan’s universities to be made independent of the central government’s control. Read more.

Peter Biar Ajak: Imprisoned Cambridge student released, lawyer says
BBC, 01/05
A Cambridge University student who had been detained in a “modern-day hellhole” in South Sudan has been pardoned and released, his lawyer said. Peter Biar Ajak had been a critic of his country’s regime and was studying for a PhD when arrested in July 2018. Read more.