About us

World Watch Monitor reports the story of Christians around the world under pressure for their faith.

Freedom of belief, guaranteed by the UN Declaration of Human Rights, plays a critical part in the unfolding, complex story of the 21st Century. We exist to tell this part of the story with accuracy and authority. We respect and uphold everyone’s right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; Our focus is on the global Christian Church.   

World Watch Monitor is particularly concerned with reporting on the underlying causes of persecution. We aim to connect the dots to reveal the forces behind acts of violence and injustice.

We strive to be the most trusted and consulted source of news about Christians who suffer for their faith. World Watch Monitor editors commission journalists around the world to report on persecution, from breaking news to in-depth analysis. We seek authentic voices on the ground, always with the aim to place such incidents within a broader narrative to explain context.  We are committed to classic journalistic principles and practices: We pursue truth; employ the discipline of verification; maintain independence; keep the news in perspective; and publish journalism that aims to be transparent.

However, wherever the freedom to believe is denied, there is fear, secrecy and often danger. So, we will name our sources when we can, and will protect them with anonymity when we must. Our reporters, whose work can anger those who oppress minority Christians, often work in places where police protection cannot always be expected, where orthodoxy can be enforced at the end of a gun, and where the rule of law doesn’t always run as it should. For those reasons, in most cases we do not publish the name of a story’s author. But neither do we make up fake reporter names.

We know the story of the Christian Church under pressure is larger than World Watch Monitor’s engagement with it, so we link to credible news and information about persecution that is published by others. Our goal is to be a valuable guide to the full breadth of this important story.

The WWM Team

Julia Bicknell has had over 30 years’ experience in the BBC, mainly BBC World Service and BBC World. She was a correspondent from Pakistan, has lived in Vietnam, and has spent extended time in Africa.





Jeff Thomas has spent 26 years in daily newspapers in the U.S., as a reporter, editor and executive editor.





Steve Dew-Jones joined the WWM Team as a journalist in 2013. He has written two books – about long overland journeys in Asia and the Americas, respectively – and has worked for a range of newspapers, magazines and websites in London.





Lauren Gunias has worked and trained as a journalist in both the United States and United Kingdom. Prior to joining WWM, she worked for the BBC, CNN International and WOUB News.




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Persecution is a story as old and wide as the Church, well beyond the ability of any single news service to report it completely. That's why World Watch Monitor frequently links to information sources around the Web.

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Catching Our Eye

Verdict postponed on Malatya murders

Turkish Christians are disappointed that no verdict was given on 28th June in a long-standing, nine-year murder trial following the killing of three Christians in Malatya in 2007. Court officials said that a verdict would be given, but the trial was adjourned until 28th September.

Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske were murdered on 18th April 2007 at the Zirve Christian publishing house in Malatya in eastern Turkey. Five men, aged 19 and 20 at the time, were arrested at the scene and charged with the murders. Their trial became increasingly complicated as a result of efforts to identify those behind the perpetrators and to link the trial to political events in Turkey. The reassignment of judges, prosecutors and other court officials also resulted in significant delays.

On 10th March 2014, the five perpetrators were released from prison and put under house arrest with electronic tags. However, they have been seen moving around freely.

Relatives of the victims expressed their disappointment in the Turkish justice system. In an interview with journalists, Geske's widow Susanne, present with her three children, said: "Nine years have now passed and I haven't seen anything. A lot of things have changed. I now only have confidence in God's justice. I will be surprised if a fair decision will be given."

The mother of Yuksel, Hatice, also present commented that she was very tired of coming and going over the last nine years: "I lost my child. On this holy day at least won't they (the defendants) speak the truth? How is it that the murderers remain free?"

Nigerian Army claims it's freed 5000 hostages

The Nigerian army says it has freed over 5,000 people held hostage by Boko Haram during an operation conducted on June 25, in the north-eastern of the country.

Six militants killed and several others wounded, said the army spokesperson, Col. Sani Usman.

Yet local media and NGOs have not been able to independently verify or confirm this claim.

Joint military operations by the Nigerian army and neighbouring troops have led to the liberation of huge portions of territory occupied by Boko Haram, though the radical Islamist group continue to carry out deadly suicide attacks.

The seven years’ insurgency has caused the death of over 20,000 people with 2 million others displaced. This situation has created a catastrophic humanitarian disaster in the region. Nearly 200 refugees have starved to death over the past month in Bama, the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says.

"This is the first time MSF has been able to access Bama, but we already know the needs of the people there are beyond critical," said Ghada Hatim, its head in Nigeria.

"We are treating malnourished children in medical facilities in Maiduguri and see the trauma on the faces of our patients who have witnessed and survived many horrors," he said.

According to MSF, some 24,000 people, including 15,000 children (among them 4,500 under five years of age) are in dire health.

Premium Times, BBC

Pew reports decline in religious restrictions

In its latest report, Pew Research Center says there was an overall decline in religious restrictions and hostilities between 2013 and 2014, despite a continued rise in religion-related terrorism.

The US-based “fact tank” ranked 198 countries and territories in the seventh report of its kind, titled “Trends in Global Restrictions on Religion”.

Many of the countries at the top end of the Pew rankings for both religious restrictions and hostilities also feature regularly on Open Doors’ World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is hardest to be a Christian, including Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. However, North Korea, No. 1 on the World Watch List for 14 years in a row, was not considered due to a reported lack of data.

“As in previous years, Christians and Muslims – who together make up more than half of the global population – faced harassment in the largest number of countries,” Pew reports in a summary of its major findings.

Religion-related terrorism reportedly increased in all regions in 2014, except sub-Saharan Africa, where it remained constant.

Read full report

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