April 4, 2008

NHMC Launches New Web Site to combat Hate Speech

The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) has launched a new web site, www.latinosagainsthatespeech.org, to help combat the verifiable increase in hate crimes against American Latinos and the Latino immigrant community, in particular.

The new user-friendly and content-rich web site has three primary objectives: to raise awareness about this growing issue; to educate the public and supporting organizations about the emotional and long-term impact of hate speech; and to help visitors to the web site take action against the increasing amount of ugly rhetoric against Latinos on American radio and television.

“We must take a stand against Hate Speech,” explained Alex Nogales, NHMC President/CEO, “the most recent report from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on this issue (“Immigrants Targeted: Extremist Rhetoric Moves into the Mainstream”) addresses how the strategy of blaming immigrants for all of society’s ills, is now spreading to mainstream America.”

Nogales also explained that the FBI released a report this year demonstrating that hate crimes against Latinos had increased by 25% between 2004 and 2006. “This is simply unacceptable,” lamented the well-known Latino media activist.

NHMC began its campaign against hate speech over a year ago by asking Congress to request an update of the 1993 National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Report to Congress: “The Role of Communications in Hate Crimes.” The NHMC anticipates that this updated report will document that there is in fact a direct cause and effect to violence generated by what radio and television is broadcasting. As a result of the efforts by the NHMC, members of Congress recently signed a joint letter addressed to the NTIA requesting an update to the 1993 report.

“Although it will take a year to complete, an update of this study is imperative in order to produce verifiable data that shows the cause and effect of hate speech and its manifestation of hate crimes,” explained Mr. Nogales.

As part of the launch, the NHMC will work closely with the ADL and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), to address hate speech and the increase of anti-immigrant sentiment across the country.

Last week, MALDEF launched its own web site, www.truthinimmigration.org, as a means to refute legal and factual inaccuracies about immigrants and Latinos.

“We congratulate our friends at MALDEF for taking this step to help address all the media inaccuracies about the Latino immigrant community,” said Nogales, “inaccuracies that seem to be growing in direct proportion to the amount of fear and instability reflected in the media about the tenuous U.S. economy.” The goal of the NHMC and its partnering organizations is to make sure that hate speech is not allowed to hide behind the banner of “free speech.” Nogales summarized, “Hate speech is simply bad for all Americans – it encourages bigotry, makes ignorance acceptable and it emboldens extremists to take action against those who are least able to defend themselves.”

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