Academic Freedom Media Review

August 12 – 18, 2017

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.

Unless otherwise indicated (such as in articles written by SAR), the language and views contained in the reports below reflect those of the originating author and/or publication and do not necessarily represent the views of Scholars at Risk or its members, affiliates, board or staff. Subscribe to SAR’s media review.

Drop charges against peaceful conference attendees: Scholars at Risk
Prachatai, 08/18
Scholars at Risk (SAR) is concerned over the summons of two professors, two students, and one independent intellectual in connection with their attendance at the International Conference on Thai Studies. Read more.

Forced to comply or shut down, Cambridge University Press’s China Quarterly removes 300 articles in China
Quartz, 08/18
China’s crackdown on academic freedom has reached the world’s oldest publishing house.
Cambridge University Press (CUP) said it has pulled over 300 articles and book reviews on its China site from the China Quarterly (CQ), one of the most prestigious journals in the China studies field, at the request of the government’s General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP). Read more.

North Korea’s ‘Western’ university at risk as tensions rise
Jack Grove, Times Higher Education, 08/16
North Korea’s only Western-run university may be forced to shut down when the US bans its citizens from travelling to the secretive state, one of its senior academics has warned. Read more.

Thai student jailed for posting BBC article critical of king on Facebook
Aukkarapon Niyomyat, The Independent, 08/15
A Thai student activist was jailed for two and a half years on Tuesday for posting a BBC article deemed offensive to Thailand’s king on Facebook, his lawyer said. Read more.

Why Was an Italian Graduate Student Tortured and Murdered in Egypt?
Declan Walsh, New York Times, 08/15
The target of the Egyptian police, that day in November 2015, was the street vendors selling socks, $2 sunglasses and fake jewelry, who clustered under the arcades of the elegant century-old buildings of Heliopolis, a Cairo suburb. Such raids were routine, but these vendors occupied an especially sensitive location. Read more.

Charlottesville Violence Sparks New Worries About Safety During Campus Protests
Peter Schmidt, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 08/15
The torch-bearing white nationalists who walked across the University of Virginia’s Lawn illuminated this much: How unprepared such institutions are to deal with the threat of sudden political violence. Read more.

‘Assault On Academic Freedom’? IIMC Imposes New Rules Prohibiting Staff From Criticising Govt
Outlook India, 08/12
The Central Civil Services Conduct (CCS) rules, which prohibit criticism of the government, will now be applicable on the faculty of the IIMC, according to the media school under the ministry of information and broadcasting. Read more.

Call for release of student imprisoned for Facebook post
University World News, 08/12
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. Read more.

A New Boycott Battle
Elizabeth Redden, Inside Higher Ed, 08/11*
A bill in Congress that would prohibit U.S. persons or companies from participating in or supporting boycotts of Israel organized by international governmental organizations like the United Nations or the European Union has been roundly criticized by civil liberties groups as an infringement on First Amendment rights to free expression. Read more.

How we communicate is changing. So should the way we think about free speech.
Suzanne Nossel, Washington Post, 08/11*
As college students wrap up summer jobs and internships, university administrations are girding for another round of campus battles over issues of free speech, protest, and the university’s role as a setting for education and intellectual exploration. Read more.

*Not featured in the August 11 edition of the Academic Freedom Media Review.