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Academic Freedom

Academic freedom in the Arab world has been increasingly undermined and strained. Individually and collectively, the freedom to access, create and share knowledge to serve communities through research, documentation, discussion and creativity faces the challenges of censorship and heavy state interference. 

Academic freedom doesn’t sit alone in societies but is part of the broader freedoms of expression exercised by artists, journalists, writers, and the public at large. Al-Fanar Media believes in the importance of researchers’ and academics’ personal autonomy and independence, as well as the significance of free speech and critical debate. We report on infringements of academic freedom in the Middle East and North Africa, the interference in the management of higher education institutions, the arrests of researchers, university staff and students. We also cover the efforts that governments and institutions are doing to preserve the right to academic freedom. 

We hope through our articles to keep the discussion around academic freedom in the MENA region alive, to contribute to the reduction of censorship in higher education institutions and research. 

Below are a series of articles and stories around the subject of academic freedom in the Arab world.

Academic Freedom Politics Research

Of Scholars and Spies

Ursula Lindsey | 06 Dec 2018

Recent headlines involving researchers accused of spying in the Middle East highlight the risk of asking questions in a police state.

Academic Freedom Arts & Culture Publishing

Book Banning in Kuwait: Whatever Next?

Layla AlAmmar | 18 Sep 2018

A committee of the country’s ministry of information has the power to ban books, in an affront to the country’s democratic principles.

Academic Freedom Conflict Refugees

A Geographer’s Bold Proposal: Borders Are a Mistake

Edward Fox | 15 Jan 2018

Hard borders between countries, an author argues, are not the norm in history, and create more problems than they solve.

Academic Freedom Gender Literature & Translation

‘Bad’ Arab Women: The Power of a Label

Ursula Lindsey | 02 Jan 2018

A new anthology looks at the stigma that attaches to women who challenge the status quo.

Academic Freedom Conflict Gender

Tariq Ramadan and the ‘Muslim Exception’

Ursula Lindsey | 29 Nov 2017

The political frenzy over accusations of rape against a prominent Islamic scholar obscures the need for more women to feel free to speak out against abuse.

Academic Freedom Human Rights Politics Religion

With Mass Arrests, Saudi Arabia Silences Independent Voices

Ursula Lindsey | 25 Sep 2017

The detainees include scholars, preachers and public intellectuals from across the ideological spectrum.

Academic Freedom Arts & Culture

Can Arab Artists Survive?

David Wheeler | 18 Jul 2017

A symposium at the British museum explored how Arab artists are coping as the room they have for expressing themselves dwindles.

Academic Freedom Gender Politics Religion

Some Gains, Many Sacrifices: Women’s Rights in Tunisia

Ursula Lindsey | 10 Jul 2017

Since the country’s independence, the position of women has been a point of both pride and controversy.

Academic Freedom Development Faculty Politics Students

In Egypt, Harsh Measures Against Academic Freedom Persist

Mohamed Abdel Salam | 23 May 2017

A prominent group of human rights lawyers reports on severe restrictions on academic freedom in the first quarter of 2017.

Academic Freedom Conflict Human Rights Inequality Politics Religion

With the Pope in Egypt, Debate on Al-Azhar’s Role

Ursula Lindsey | 25 Apr 2017

In the wake of Coptic church bombings, educators are reflecting on what role universities, including Al-Azhar, the beacon of Sunni Islam, might have in teaching tolerance—or intolerance.




Copyright © 2018 Al-Fanar Mediaحقوق © 2018 الفنار للإعلام

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Copyright © 2018 Al-Fanar Mediaحقوق © 2018 الفنار للإعلام