Academic Freedom Media Review

May 12 – 18, 2018

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.

Philippe Sands: Behind bars with Turkey’s imprisoned writers
Philippe Sands, Financial Times, 05/16
Istanbul has long been special to me, the place where I fell in love 30 years ago with the woman I would marry, drinking mint tea at a small café by the Ortakoy Mosque in the shadow of the Bosphorus Bridge. Now I’m back — to visit a renowned Turkish journalist and old friend in prison. Read more.

Academic freedom faces ‘grave threat’ from parliament
Yojana Sharma, University World News, 05/15
Academics are normally happy to provide expert opinion and testimony to parliamentary hearings in democratic countries, but the way one expert witness invited to a Singaporean parliamentary committee hearing on ‘fake news’ was treated has caused consternation around the world. Read more.

Liberal Hungarian university warns Viktor Orbán could force it abroad
Shaun Walker, Guardian, 05/15
Central European University is prepared to move its base of operations out of Hungary if the government of Viktor Orbán does not sign a deal to legalise its status soon, its rector has said. Read more.

Former Catalan minister back in court
BBC, 05/15
A former Catalan education minister has returned to a Scottish court as she continues her legal battle against extradition to Spain. Read more.

Turkey: Government targeting academics
Human Rights Watch, 05/14
The Turkish government’s dismissal of thousands of academics and the prosecution of hundreds more, together with interference with academics’ work and student protests, is leading to self-censorship and hollowing out academic freedom in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. Read more.

Attacks on schools and universities are on the rise
Brendan O’Malley, University World News, 05/12
Deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on schools and universities, their students, and staff have become more widespread over the past five years, the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) said in the 2018 edition of its flagship report, released on 10 May. Read more.

Turkish court sentences 64 academics, university staff to prison over Gülen links
Stockholm Center for Freedom, 05/12
A Turkish court has sentenced 64 academics and former staff members of the Denizli-based Pamukkale University to between 18 months and nine years in prison. Read more.

Physicists decry call for US visa restrictions on Chinese researchers
Peter Gwynne, Physics World, 05/11*
Physicists are voicing concerns over academic freedom and the value of international collaboration after the Trump administration revealed that it is considering restricting Chinese scientists’ ability to carry out research in US universities and institutes. The move – which could directly affect 300 000 researchers – is apparently motivated by fears that Chinese researchers may be involved in espionage activities and secretly transferring sensitive discoveries to the Chinese government. Read more.

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