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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 Faculty Human Rights Policy Research

Academic Self-Censorship Is a ‘Brain Drag’ on Arab Universities and Societies

Robert Quinn | 18 Apr 2021

Academic self-censorship not only hinders individuals’ intellectual output and creativity but comes at a cost to whole societies.

Academic Freedom Democracy Faculty Human Rights Teaching

Self-Censorship in Arab Higher Education: an Untold Problem

Rasha Faek | 18 Apr 2021

Arab professors routinely practice self-censorship, which limits academic discourse, a survey by Al-Fanar Media and Scholars at Risk found.

Academic Freedom Arts & Culture Critical Thinking Democracy Faculty Liberal Arts Students

How Much Academic Freedom Should Students Have?

Jörg Matthias Determann | 01 Apr 2021

A history professor at an American university in Qatar explains how his students have free choice of media for their assignments.

Academic Freedom Faculty Human Rights Research Students Technology & Online Learning

Arab Region Scores Lowest in the World for Academic Freedom

Burton Bollag | 16 Mar 2021

The Academic Freedom Index paints a troubling picture of the state of academic freedom in the Arab world.

Academic Freedom Conflict Faculty Human Rights Students

Attacks on Yemeni Higher Education Highlighted in ‘Free to Think’ Report

Burton Bollag | 20 Nov 2020

The annual report documenting attacks on higher education and the freedom of academics details the toll the civil war in Yemen has taken on universities.

Academic Freedom Critical Thinking Literature & Translation Publishing

Egyptian Translation Center’s New Guidelines Could Stifle Freedom of Thought

Amr EL-Tohamy | 11 Sep 2020

The National Center for Translation was created to make knowledge from across the world accessible to Egyptians. Many see its new guidelines as a move to restrict freedom of thought.

Academic Freedom Conflict Data & Surveys Violence

Middle East Suffers Largest Share of Attacks on Higher Education

Burton Bollag | 16 Jul 2020

Two-thirds of all attacks on campuses and university buildings worldwide over the past five years took place in the Middle East, says a new report on attacks on education.

Academic Freedom Conflict Human Rights Politics Violence

Iraqi Researcher’s Assassination Stirs Fears of Renewed Violence Against Academics

Gilgamesh Nabeel | 12 Jul 2020

Husham Al-Hashimi, an expert on ISIS and a critic of foreign-backed militias in Iraq, was gunned down by unknown assassins in a Baghdad street this week.

Academic Freedom Arts & Culture Gender Politics Religion

Kuwait Shuts Down an Art Exhibit. Is the ‘Most Open’ Gulf Society Closing?

Aisha Elgayar | 25 Feb 2020

Artists believe the shuttering of Shurooq Amin’s show by Kuwaiti authorities is the latest indicator of the country’s decline in freedom of expression.

Academic Freedom Human Rights Politics Research

Egyptian Human Rights Scholar Detained, Fanning Broader Fears

Al-Fanar Correspondent | 17 Feb 2020

The recent imprisonment of Patrick George Zaki, a human-rights scholar and activist, renews fears about freedom of expression and freedom for researchers in Egypt.




Copyright © 2018 Al-Fanar Mediaحقوق © 2018 الفنار للإعلام

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Copyright © 2018 Al-Fanar Mediaحقوق © 2018 الفنار للإعلام