On March 14, 2016, Scholars at Risk and the National Endowment for Democracy co-hosted an event in Washington DC. Speakers for the event included Rafia Zakaria, Emad Shahin, Matar Ebrahim Matar, Khorapin Phuaphansawat, and moderated by SAR Executive Director Rob Quinn
In a number of countries, counter-terrorism, blasphemy, sedition and similar laws are increasingly used to restrict free inquiry and expression, resulting in a shrinking academic and societal space for dialogue. Wrongful prosecutions under these laws not only threaten the well-being of targeted individuals, but undermine the quality of academic work and public discourse and deny everyone in society the benefits of expert knowledge, scientific and creative progress, and free expression.
These laws are often defended as reasonable restrictions on violent or anti-social conduct or as appropriate expressions of national or cultural prerogatives. In practice they are used to restrict thought, punish expression, and intimidate individuals and society generally. Panelists addressed the ways such laws are impacting academics and society more generally in their respective countries.
A recording of the event is available on Youtube.