(Published May 18, 2016)
Go to Newsbusters for the original post.
Iranian authorities arrested a Christian pastor who converted from Islam for the third time on Friday, May 13. But Americans won’t hear that from the traditional news media.
According to U.K.-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and his wife, alongside three other church members, were detained late last week after authorities raided their home.
Nadarkhani, now 38, converted to Christianity from Islam at the age of 19. For the past 10 years, he has led a home church from the Church of Iran denomination. The pastor was initially arrested in 2009 after questioning the Muslim monopoly on education at his children’s school. Amid international pressure, he was released in 2012 after being sentenced to execution by hanging for apostasy. He was re-arrested shortly afterward and released again.
While the Christian and local news outlets differed on the details, they all agreed on the pastor’s recent arrest.
After several hours of questioning following Friday’s arrest, authorities again released Nadarkhani and his wife. The three other church members are still in custody.
But don’t look to the major broadcast networks to cover or provide updates to this story. In the five days since the pastor’s arrest, ABC, CBS and NBC haven’t mentioned the incident once during their morning and evening news shows.
In fact, the networks have never reported on the pastor or the threats he has faced.
When it comes to Christian persecution, the networks habitually turn a blind-eye to stories. So far in 2016, the networks haven’t mentioned the topic of Christian persecution by ISIS once. The media also remained largely silent on the story of American Pastor Saeed Abedini’s imprisonment in Iran. And when CBS ran a story on Christian persecution in China, ABC and NBC continued to ignore the topic.
While the pastor and his wife have been released, concern for the others still in Iranian custody remain.
In a statement, CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas pledged to “continue to call on Iran to fully respect its constitutional and international human rights obligations by ensuring that justice and equality before the law are guaranteed to all citizens, regardless of their religion or belief.”
If only the rest of the news media were as concerned with human rights for all.
Methodology: MRC Culture searched Nexis transcripts and watched the morning and evening news shows from ABC, CBS and NBC.