Press Release: Organizations Renew Long-Outstanding Requests for Examination of Hate Speech in Media
January 19, 2011
For Immediate Release
Contact: Tatiana Arizaga
Washington, D.C. - Yesterday, the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), joined by a robust and diverse collection of other organizations, reached out to leaders at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to urge each entity to act on NHMC's long-standing requests to study the effects of hate speech in media. NHMC sent letters to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Assistant Secretary Lawrence Strickling of the NTIA.
In the letter to FCC Chairman Genachowski, NHMC requested prompt action on its two-year-old petition for inquiry and urged the FCC to examine the extent, nature and effects of hate speech in media, and possible non-regulatory ways to counteract or reduce its negative impacts. All four FCC Commissioners have been receptive to opening the inquiry. As the only person with the power to add the petition to the FCC's agenda, Chairman Genachowski is solely responsible for the delay. In the other letter, NHMC renewed another two-year-old request, and urged the NTIA to promptly update its 1993 report, The Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes. Assistant Secretary Strickling has agreed to update the 1993 report. However, he says that he cannot do so until he receives funding from Congress. These letters follow almost two weeks of public conversation about the effects of violent rhetoric in media. A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 82% of Americans feel that the tone of political discourse is "negative" and 49% believe that this negative tone creates or could create a climate that encourages violence. "For many years, NHMC has been alarmed that irresponsible and hateful words create an unnecessary risk for everybody - from the President of the United States and members of Congress, to the day laborers in our communities and students in our schools," said NHMC's President and CEO, Alex Nogales. "Now that this topic has entered the national dialogue, it is all the more important that we have the facts to determine the extent of this problem." Organizations that signed on to the letters include: NHMC; Media Alliance; Benton Foundation; Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU); National Puerto Rican Coalition (NPRC); SER - Jobs for Progress; National, Inc.; Center for New Community; National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, Inc.; Center for Media Justice; Media Literacy Project; Free Press; Reclaim the Media; Industry Ears; National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP); Media Working Group, Inc.; Presente.org; National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP); National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI); Main Street Project; SueWilsonReports.com; Media and Democracy Coalition; Web Wise Kids; Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections; Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Florida; National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA); Media Access Project; Prometheus Radio Project; United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI); and United Church of Christ, Office of Communication, Inc. To read the letter to the FCC, please click here. To read the letter to the NTIA, please click here. To learn more about NHMC's campaign against hate speech in media, please click here. If you would like to join our plea for government action, please visit http://www.nhmc.org/content/take-action