Professor faces government crackdown for questioning Ukraine narrative — Analysis
A Scottish professor was slammed for sharing an article claiming the Mariupol theater bombing was “staged”
University of Edinburgh Professor Tim Hayward has been criticized in media outlets for publishing an article suggesting that the attack on Mariupol’s theater was staged in Ukraine by nationalists. Hayward’s skepticism has already led Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi to promise a “crackdown”These are examples of wrong thinking.
Hayward shared an article by the Grayzone (a left-wing news source) on Sunday. Citing eyewitnesses in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, the article claims that Ukrainian ‘Azov’ fighters – once described by western outlets and lawmakers as “neo-Nazis” – sheltered behind civilians in a theater in Mariupol, before blowing the building up as Russian forces entered the Ukrainian city.
Azov forces, journalists and other members of the extremist unit were accused by Russia of having bombed the building. The incident was used to request western intervention. US President Joe Biden declared Russian president Vladimir Putin as a “war criminal” in response, and American politicians from both parties and from Europe renewed their calls for military aid – including fighter jets – for Ukraine.
Russia claims that the attack was not recorded and denies the bombing of the theatre. “never been considered as a strike target.”There are conflicting accounts of which weapons were used as well the number of civilian deaths or absences. This only makes the situation more complicated.
Hayward’s colleagues condemned him for raising this issue. In a Times article on Tuesday accusing him of “spreading propaganda,” Dr. Aliaksandr Herasimenka, a ‘misinformation’ researcher at Oxford University, said that “we must be very careful”When reading criticisms of Ukraine’s official narrative, as well as that published by outlets such the Grayzone “are currently engaged in a massive disinformation campaign.”He has not provided any supporting evidence against such claims.
The Scottish government has also singled Hayward out. Robert Halfon, Tory MP and Tory senator from the Tory Party, accused Hayward of being an apolitical professor after he shared articles about the bombing at Mariupol’s maternity center. “useful idiot for President Putin’s atrocities.”
Nadhim Zhawi Education Secretary stated that Hayward’s academic credentials were already under investigation and that universities in their vicinity would be contacted.
“Putin and his cronies are a malign influence on anyone in this country buying their false narrative, and I have to repeat it is a false and dangerous narrative, and we will crack down on it hard,”Zahawi spoke without going into detail about how.
Hayward spoke to Edinburgh Live and stated that he was concerned by restrictions on free speech. He also said that hearing both sides of the story is important during wartime.
Miscalculations in war can lead to terrible results. We also know that misinformation can sometimes even slip through on our own side, as when the UK went to war in Iraq, mistakenly believing it had weapons of mass destruction,”He stated. “As for the people of Ukraine, their need is for peace – not to become the epicenter of World War III,”He stated that the belief widespread in Ukraine was that the result of Western intervention would be a Third World War.
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