SAR Academic Freedom Media Review-June 16-22, 2012

Scholars at Risk monitors reports of threats to academic freedom and higher education communities worldwide, including media articles, blogs, opinion pieces and other announcements.  Unless otherwise indicated (such as in articles written by SAR), the language and views contained in the search results 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. Archived media reviews are available here.


Russian Professors Jailed For Selling Secrets To China
Radio Free Europe, 06/22

Scholars at Risk calls for letters on behalf of Mr. Abdolfattah Soltani of Iran
Scholars at Risk, 06/20

U. of Nebraska Professor Reportedly Is Detained While on Study-Abroad Trip to China
The Chronicle of Higher Education, 06/18

Anger Builds Over Dismissal of University of Virginia President
Richard Pérez-Peña, New York Times, 06/18

Khartoum University: heartbeat of the Sudanese revolution
Sudanese Online, 06/18

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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.


‘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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SAR Academic Freedom Media Review, March 31-April 6, 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.


Faculty union launches bid to shield Attaran
Andrew Duffy, Ottawa Citizen, 4/6

A Call to Respect Rights
Mitch Smith, Inside Higher Ed, 4/6

Don’t Touch My Textbook
Mitch Smith, Inside Higher Ed, 4/6

Amnesty International Urges Sudan to Release Student Activist
Salma El Wardany, Bloomberg Businessweek, 4/6

Ai Weiwei Ordered to Stop Self-Surveillance
Josh Chi, The Wall Street Journal, 4/5
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Support the Libyan Opposition Now!

Earlier today Gaddafi vowed to crush protestors. A leader with no regard for the lives of his citizens.

Muammar Gaddafi addressed his supporters in Tripoli’s Green Square today. Once again his remarks were belligerent, gruesome, and rambling. Both he and his son have indicated Gaddafi will cling to power until his last breath, no matter was the costs to Libya nor how many lives are lost. The United States and much of the world community was hesitant to withdraw its support from Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt after the popular uprisings against them began in their countries.

While I was disappointed by that hesitancy, it was at least understandable. These leaders were allies of the West and, when the demonstrations started, at least when through the motions of promising a degree of reform. Mubarak went so far as to give the end date for his Presidency, after elections in September. Western governments, unsure about what was to come and aware that these leaders had been reliable allies, were hesitant to drop them.


Gaddafi has certainly not offered to step down, not now nor ever. He has also not offered any hint that he would be willing to accept any sort of reforms. Though in power since 1969, all he has done so far is justify his regime by evoking the “Green Revolution,” blamed everyone but himself for what is going on and threaten mass bloodshed.

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Revolution in the Arab World: Why We Can’t Just Stand Aside

Rhapsody playlist: Democratic Revolutions in the Middle East

Here’s a little play list I put together inspired by the wave of democratic revolutions sweeping the Arab world. The play list includes songs celebrating people power and a small sampling of songs from the region. Today, on receiving news from Libya, I added a few songs that go some way, insofar as anything can, to expressing the pure horror and sadness I felt on seeing images of death in the streets of Libya. The images have been shocking, the ruthlessness of the regime truly appalling. This music expresses the pure sadness and outrage I feel.

It is amazing and inspiring to watch these demonstrations! It has been horrifying and shocking to watch the response of the Libyan regime!

It is considered naive to suggest that foreign policy should be based on principle. We are told it is necessary to be Machiavellian in safeguarding our national interest, and in the realm of foreign policy, realpolitik often trumps principle. I disagree. Perhaps I am, indeed, naive, but I believe that democracy, with protection for the rights of the minorities, is a principle that trumps almost all, and our policy ought to reflect that.

In the current wave of peaceful democratic revolutions sweeping the Arab world, US support of the citizen demonstrators has been slow and tepid. This in spite of the fact that sticking to our principles and unequivocally supporting the pro-democracy demonstrators is what is in our best economic and strategic interest. To do otherwise is a risky strategy, a strategy that, should it not go the way proponents believe, will have grave consequences.

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Egypt Decides! Let’s Stand Back for a While

Saturday, 12 February 2011, Day 1 Freedom - Victory Tahrir Square, Photo by Darla Hueske, Creative Commons license, Some rights reserved

These are exciting times! The citizens revolution in Tunisia started a tidal wave of pro-democracy protests across the Arab world, and the resignation of Hosni Mubarak form the Presidency in Egypt proves there is no stopping it.

Fortunately, this wave has not caused the death and destruction tidal waves usually do, because it is the people themselves who are the wave, and it is the elite who are being swept away, not in a bloody coup, but through real people power. Final costs have yet to be assessed. People were jailed and others killed, but violence and destruction to property have been minimal. The police were brutal and ruthless and far too many were killed, but protests continued and the police disappeared quickly. After that, the one significant effort of Mubarak loyalist to crack heads, backfired terribly.

Most Americans are excited by this wave of democracy and have an innate tendency to support it. Others got very nervous when the wave hit Egypt. What happens if the Muslim brotherhood takes over? There are even voices who get far to much airplay in the media and too much ink in the press who say that people in the region are incapable of self governance and need strong arm leadership. The most looney voice has to be Glenn Beck who fears Mubarak’s fall will open the door to a Islamist Caliphate that will spread until it meets and joins forces with a Chinese-led “red” wave on a quest for world domination.
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Academic Freedom Media Review, January 22-28

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.

Purge or Quality Control?
Dan Berrett, Inside Higher Ed, 1/28

University dispute causes a crisis of credibility /
Shirley Brooks, Mail and Guardian, 1/28

Iraqi Academics Come Together to Debate Future of Higher-Education System
Ursula Lindsey, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/28

Arab Scholars, Politicians and Activists Issue Appeal for Human Rights and Democracy in the Arab World
Reuters, 1/27

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Freedom of the Press in the Maghreb

Upon the death of his father, it looked as if Morocco might be on its way toward total freedom of expression.  This post is too short to go into much detail, but tentatively at first, then progressively with more and more confidence the media and the arts began to confront previously taboo subjects including corruption in government and the private sector, human rights abuses, gender oppression, linguistic and cultural suppression of minorities, policies in the Western Sahara, homosexual rights, etc.

There was shock when the Moroccan magazine TelQuel was able to publish an investigative piece on “The Salary of the King,” and get away with it.  Under his father Hassan the II such matters were kept as secret as nuclear launch codes.  I don’t mean to say that the media totally ignored all that was wrong in Morocco until the liberalization, either.  But when something was  reported, it was done very carefully, with great care as to who was bore the blame.  All of that changed in the years following the elevation to the throne of Mohammed VI.

Recently, however, there have been a number of setbacks and it has been hard to watch.  Continue reading