News

Religious broadcasters take aim at tech giants for ‘stifling’ conservative speech

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, voices his support for the Internet Freedom Initiative at the National Press Club on Dec. 7, 2017. Photo by Bwerani Nettles/NRB

WASHINGTON (RNS) – National Religious Broadcasters, a group of Christian media outlets, has unveiled a new initiative to counter what it sees as the suppression of Christian and conservative views online.

The internet freedom initiative aims to call attention to Google, Facebook, Apple and other tech companies’ “stifling” of free speech, NRB President & CEO Jerry A. Johnson said Thursday (Dec. 7) at a news conference and panel discussion on the topic.

“It is unacceptable for these titans to discriminate against users just because their viewpoints are not congruent with ideas popular in Silicon Valley,” Johnson said.

The initiative includes a website to document instances of suppressed online speech.

As part of the initiative, NRB has sent letters to Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter to press the issue and has called on Congress to address the matter publicly.

Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter did not respond to Religion News Service for comment on the initiative and the NRB’s accusations.

The initiative is supported by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who said tech giants effectively “muzzle conservatives” for supporting Christian values online.

Also joining in the news conference: Robert McDowell, a former commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission; Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition; and Craig Strazzeri, chief marketing officer for PragerU, a conservative nonprofit that posts videos online.

“It was a little over a year and a half ago that we discovered that 15 PragerU videos at the time were being restricted,” said Strazzeri. “There’s now nearly 40 videos being restricted out of our 250. It’s a big portion of our library.”

A suit was filed against Google in October accusing YouTube — which is owned by Google — of censorship. Google responded to the suit, saying it had not engaged in censorship but allows users to use “Restricted Mode” to filter out videos that may include sensitive or mature content.

This story is available for republication.

About the author

Chris Mathews

ADVERTISEMENTs