SAR Academic Freedom Media Review – May 5-11, 2012

The Scholars at Risk media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available here. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.

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‘New York University’ Is Added to China’s List of Banned Internet Search Terms
The Chronicle of Higher Education, 5/11

Sea turtles homing in on China must swim against academic tide
Carolynne Wheeler, Times Higher Education, 5/10

Scholar lost in desert of despair guided by beacon of hope to oasis
Matthew Reisz, Times Higher Education, 5/10

Cabinet may consider accreditation bill today
Himanshi Dawan, Times of India, 5/10

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Academic Freedom Media Review – March 11 – 16, 2012

The Scholars at Risk media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available here. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.

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AAUP Will Investigate U. of Northern Iowa Over Faculty Cuts
The Chronicle of Higher Education, 3/16

Scholars at Risk calls for letters on behalf of imprisoned Iranian scholars
Scholars at Risk, 3/16

Chicago State U. Is Ordered to Reinstate Adviser to Student Newspaper
The Chronicle of Higher Education, 3/15

Cambridge student protester suspended from University until 2014
Emily Loud, The Cambridge Student, 3/15

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CAIR Asks South Dakota Governor to Veto Anti-Sharia Bill

No Bigotry in Our LawsCAIR Asks South Dakota Governor to Veto Anti-Sharia Bill.

Have you heard about this bill?  Well it’s pissing me off and South Dakota isn’t the only state with one in process!  I urge you to click on the link above and read what the Council on  American-Islamic Relations has to say about it.  I’m not angry about it because  it once again demonstrates the appalling lack of understanding and intolerable amount of prejudice must be endured by Muslims in the United States. That deeply saddens me more than it pisses me off.  As an educator, I will do my best to fight against this kind of ignorance.    Americans are innately curious and open-minded, there is simply so much misinformation that has  so massively skewed perceptions.

I am annoyed, ok a little pissed off, that not only South Dakota, but approximately two dozen other state legislatures are wasting time on such frivolous bills when there are so many other pressing issues facing the states and our nation as a whole.  What’s all this talk I keep hearing about budget crunches,  fiscal austerity, and cutbacks?  Both Virginia and West Virginia have debated this kind of a law, as well.  These people, our elected representatives, don’t even understand our system of government, it seems. They pass frivolous, unnecessary legislation to prevent things that are already impossible, instead of dealing with real issues.

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Academic Freedom Media Review – January 14 – 20, 2012

The Scholars at Risk media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available here. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.

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A Good and Bad Week for Free Speech
Christopher Jon Sprigman, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/20

Information update: Scholars at Risk welcomes the release of Vietnamese professor, Pham Minh Hoang; Syrian activist’s brother, Yassin Ziadeh
Scholars at Risk, 1/20

IAEA Rejects Iran Accusation Over Scientist Killing
The New York Times, 1/20

KENYA: Bogus colleges crackdown, 21 charged
Gilbert Nganga, University World News, 1/19

College Groups Back U. of Colorado’s Immunity Claim in Churchill Case
The Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/19

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SAR Academic Freedom Media Review – January 7-13, 2012

The Scholars at Risk media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available here. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.

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Texas Can Regulate Secular Matters at Religious Colleges, Opinion Says
Katherine Mangan, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/13

US teachers offered support for climate change lessons
Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, 1/13

Free Speech and (Offensive) Art
Daniel Grant, Inside Higher Ed, 1/13

Stormy waters ahead as ‘disruptive forces’ sweep the old guard
Sarah Cunnane, Times Higher Education, 1/12

Independence, transparency key to research work of ESRI
Frances Ruane, The Irish Times, 1/12

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Scholars at Risk Academic Freedom Media Review, October 28-November 4, 2011

The media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available here. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.

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TURKEY 11/3/11: Ragip Zarakolu releases public letter from prison
PEN, 11/3

Russian Terror Law Has Unlikely Targets
Sophia Kishkovksy, The New York Times, 11/3

Climate change scientist Michael Mann fends off sceptic group’s raid on emails
Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, 11/2
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Campaign Ads, Satirical Magazines and Religious Intolerance

I’m used to negative politics and personal attack ads.  The strategy of attacking your opponents character is probably as old as politics itself, but it’s gotten particularly virulent in recent years.  Unfortunately, it’s seldom elucidating in terms of someone’s ability to govern.  Women and men who have made mistakes in their past or who have truly disastrous personal lives, may well be effective policy makers.  At the very least, though, we ought to be able to expect these personal attacks to be factual, and far too often they aren’t.  Just follow FactCheck.org or Politifact.com and you will see far to many examples of ads called to task for being untrue.

Sadly, I’ve grown used to these.  They disgust me, but they don’t infuriate me.  What does enrage me is negative campaigning the resounds beyond the campaign and affects our society more broadly.  This is advertising that plays on fear, intolerance and ignorance, impugning the character not only of an individual candidate but of an entire race, religion, ethnicity, or other group.  In a particularly egregious example, popular Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, a Democrat and a Muslim, is now being challenged in the race by Gary Boisclair, an anti-abortion activist, and member of Randall Terry’s Society for Truth and Justice (STJ), one of 25 candidates they are running in carefully selected advertising markets, less in hopes of getting the candidate elected than as a cover for running explicit anti-abortion tv advertising.  It’s a sleazy but clever strategy, one that the organization itself cops to.  I kind of admire it.  But Bosclair is also using campaign ads promote a Islamophobic agenda, running ads that explicitly attack Ellison’s religion, and that is unacceptable.

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Thoughts on Remembrances of September 11

It is fitting that we pause today to remember the events of September 11, 2001 in New York, NY and Washington, DC.  It was a day in which a small group of terrorists once again reminded us just how much ideology and religious fervor can so blind the eyes of men to right and wrong to the point that they will turn aircraft loaded with innocent people into missiles to be used to commit deliberate acts of barbaric, cold-blooded murder against thousands of other innocent civilians.

It was also a day in which firefighters, police, rescue workers and even ordinary citizens committed selfless acts that taught us the meaning of heroism.  Through the coverage of 9-11 memorials and tributes, the media has done a good job of reminding us of all of this.  It has also reminded us of the deep sense of loss and the threat we face.  We’ve been called on to remember the soldiers who volunteered to fight against the terrorist threat and did not come home.  Nearly 4500 coalition forces have been killed in Iraq, and 1800 in Afghanistan (source).  The number that have been maimed or psychologically scarred is even larger.

As Americans, however, we must realize that 9-11 was a global tragedy and we were not the only ones affected…

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SAR Academic Freedom Media Review–July 23-29, 2011

Compiled by Scholars at Risk

The Scholars at Risk media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available here. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.

Iranian scientist’s death ‘probably the work of western security agencies
The Guardian, 7/28

Unruly humanities scholars threaten the discipline, event hears
Matthew Reisz, Times Higher Education, 7/28

Scholars at Risk calls for letters: Vietnamese professor to face trial
Scholars at Risk, 7/27

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The Rhetoric of Hate v. Forgiveness

A short, but respectable analysis of an aspect of conservative media’s responses the tragic bombing and shootings in Norway came across my screen today.  In “Norway’s Sorrow: Why Is It So Hard For The Religious Right To Denounce Evil?,” Kurt Ostrow argues that a certain segment of the media is unable to simply denounce the attacks and leave it there. They condemn the actions of Anders Behring Breivik, who claimed responsibility for the attack, but then go on to ask if there aren’t real causes for concern that set him off. Ostrow points out that is is part of a very real trend, and provides some excellent examples to support his case, both from Europe and the United States.

He then goes on to make an excellent point.

Right-wing politicians and pundits everywhere have decided it politically prudent to conflate Islamic (of or relating to Islam) with Islamist (of or relating to Islamic militancy or fundamentalism). Or worse: they actually believe this misdirected, misinformed hate.

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