Index on Censorship is an organisation campaigning for freedom of expression and against censorship in politics, culture and the media. Its journal is published four times per year. The edition for Summer 2015 is of interest to us because it includes a ‘Special Report’ on academic freedom in universities, entitled ‘Fired, Threatened, Imprisoned…. Is academic freedom being eroded?’
It’s not surprising that the short answer to the question is ‘yes’, substantiated by a collection of articles which demonstrates the different dimensions and methods of academic censorship across the globe. Rachael Jolley’s editorial reminds us of the importance of academic freedom in the university: ‘Universities are places where discoveries are made. Academia is an opportunity for students and teachers to challenge themselves, their perceptions and values….’(p5). She might also have pointed out that the principle of academic freedom in which the state funds the university with no strings was first established and enshrined in Humboldt’s University of Berlin in 1809, and as such is a largely European invention.