Professor Piers Robinson demands freedom for Julian Assange

Professor Piers Robinson is a leading figure in the Media on Trial group. Chair in politics, society and political journalism at the University of Sheffield, his 2002 book, The CNN Effect: The Myth of News Media, Foreign Policy and Intervention, examined news reporting in a series of “humanitarian” interventions in Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo and Rwanda.

He was the lead author of Pockets of Resistance: British News Media, War and Theory in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq (2010), an ambitious and meticulous analysis of television and press coverage during the invasion.

The Routledge Handbook of Media, Conflict and Security (2016), which Robinson authored with Philip Seib and Romy Frohlich, links the growing body of media and conflict research with the field of security studies.

He is a member of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media. The group was set up in 2017 to “facilitate research and debate with respect to the 2011-present war in Syria and the role of both media and propaganda.” In January, Hayward exposed the Guardian for smearing “critical discussion” on the White Helmets as being the work of “anti-imperialist activists, conspiracy theorists and trolls with the support of the Russian government.”

Robinson and another member of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media, Professor Tim Hayward, were among those targeted in witch-hunting articles run by the Times in April. In May, he responded to these attacks in a three-part interview published on the World Socialist Web Site.

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We are living through very dark days for democracy and freedom of expression. Voices of reason and calm are being relentlessly smeared and bullied whilst courageous whistleblowers such as Julian Assange are subjected to increasingly coercive attempts to silence them.

It is essential that all of us who value democracy and free speech stand up in defence of Assange and demand that this scandalous and shameful State-led harassment is brought to an end.

Our freedom to speak truth to power, oppose immoral and illegitimate wars, and to campaign for truth and accountability, is being lost at frightening speed. Halting this democratic decay starts with demanding freedom for Julian Assange.