The mission of the Organisation for Propaganda Studies (OPS) is to facilitate and conduct rigorous academic research and analysis of propaganda, both historical and contemporary. Its mission statementnotes that propaganda is a manipulative form of persuasion that is frequently found across political, economic, and security domains in authoritarian states as well as in liberal democracies.
The OPS therefore categorically condemns the decision in October 2021 of Bristol University to remove David Miller, Professor of Political Sociology, from his post. This is a reprehensible assault on the OPS mission. Its consequence, and its likely aim, is to obstruct information and research concerning overt and cover propaganda operations conducted by powerful, special interests that are hostile to the general welfare of humanity.
Professor Miller is a founding member of OPS and serves on its Board of Directors. His OPS colleagues consider Miller to be one of the world’s foremost scholars of propaganda. Among many other things his work has been critical to revelations of the Israeli government policies of suppression and apartheid that have targeted Palestinians over many decades, and of the contributions of Britain, through the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, to the funding and management of “influence operations” that include support to extremist groups in Syria.
OPS concurs with the judgment of an independent report from a leading Queen’s Counsel, commissioned by none other than Bristol University, who found that comments of Professor Miller to which objection had been taken did not constitute unlawful speech and were not anti-Semitic.
OPS believes that Miller is the undeserving victim of the Israel lobby and of those who would use it to advance their own political objectives in the UK. OPS notes that what it considers to be Bristol University’s indefensible and cowardly behavior in this matter represents a significant retreat from the most basic principles of free speech. These should be the sacred preserve of universities everywhere but are gravely weakened by encroachment on university governance by pressures from special interest, corporate media, and intensifying social inequalities. Bristol University’s decision in this matter directly obstructs the professional responsibilities of its own academic employees.
OPS further observes that the action against Professor Miller occurs in a period of intensification of comparable smears and insinuations targeting reputable academics in the UK and in other parts of the world.
Board of Directors Professor Mark Crispin Miller and Dr Piers Robinson and Steering Committee Members Professor Oliver Boyd Barrett and Professor Jared Ball