UK students urged to report ‘propaganda’ — Analysis

A Scottish university asks its students to disclose ‘misinformation’ after one teacher was accused of spreading Russian propaganda

Students at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland have been urged by their university to submit reports “misinformation”After one of the teachers of this class was accused of spreading false Russian stories,

The BBC and The Times both claim that they are committed to free expression and creation of a diverse society. “safe space for staff and students to discuss controversial topics,”The university stated that they have a “strong view against the spread of misinformation”Students were asked to share any concerns about their teachers.

The academic in question – Tim Hayward, a professor of environmental political theory at the University of Edinburgh – had retweeted a statement made by a Russian representative to the UN, who claimed that the alleged Russian bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine was a false flag operation.

Hayward posted a link in March to an article that questioned the Russian attack at a Mariupol theater. “what do we know of the reality?”This article suggests that it may also have been an operation of false flag by Ukrainians to provoke public outrage, and a Western military intervention.

Kvitka Perehinets, a Ukrainian student at the university, who says she has family members fighting now, told the BBC that she was deeply concerned over the professor’s social media activity, stating that: “The moment we start to equate the two sides in the story is the moment we lose our humanity. The oppressor — in this case Russia — should not be given the same kind of platform as those who are being oppressed.”

Perehinets stated to the outlet she alerted University of California, Berkeley to Professor Hayward’s tweets.

Another student, Mariangela Alejandro, expressed concern over Hayward’s statements on the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria, and his critical view of the White Helmets organization, which he shared with students during a lecture.

BBC obtains a lecture by Hayward that states Hayward stated to his students two narratives around the attack in Douma (Syria) in 2018. One narrative states that the White Helmets assisted victims in rescue, gave evidence and provided witness statements regarding the chemical attack at Douma 7 April 2018. The critics say the White Helmets were responsible for staging a false flag event to spur the West to attack the Syrian government.” 

“In fact, dispute about this case is still current,”He pointed out.

The BBC wrote that Alejandro said she came away from Hayward’s lecture “thinking ‘it could be true’ that the attack was faked, until she spoke to a Syrian friend.”The article didn’t specify her friend’s words.

Hayward has defended his teaching by stating that his course simply asks whether a claim should be accepted solely on the basis of someone’s authority, adding that the concept extends to his own words as well.

For what he considered to be insults against him and others academics, Hayward took aim at the BBC. Following the BBC’s article, Hayward wrote on Twitter: “Academia should support open discussion of propaganda, not be constrained to tow an official line in an information war.”

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