NHMC wants to examine hate speech in wake of Arizona shootings


The murderous rampage that took place at a Tucson, Arizona shopping center has opened the door to a wide-ranging discussion on the topic of what caused it and how the next one can be prevented. And it gave the National Hispanic Media Coalition a change to renew its call for a hate speech proceeding at the FCC – in which it wishes for the exploration of non-regulatory options.

The organization also asked for NTIA to get into the act.

In a statement, it said, “Indeed, this month marks the second anniversary of NHMC’s call to action on hate speech in media, whereby NHMC made two requests: (1) that the Federal Communications Commission open a public docket to examine the extent and effects of hate speech in media, and non-regulatory options for counteracting the violence that extreme rhetoric breeds; and (2) that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration update its 1993 report, The Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes so that it may address the realities of how people communicate in the digital age.  To date, the government has not acted upon our requests.”

NHMC continued, “In the meantime, we have witnessed the horrific murders and maiming of countless victims, many of whom remain in the shadows.  The government must act NOW so that it may understand the underlying reasons behind hate crimes and other acts of rhetoric-induced violence.  Only with this understanding may it protect the people of this country, including our members of Congress, who must be able to interact safely with their constituents in their districts so that they may represent them on the Hill – a fundamental tenet of our democracy.”

RBR-TVBR observation: The regulation of speech was frowned upon by the framers of the Constitution despite the fact that they were well aware how inflammatory it was capable of being. We believe the best remedy we have against purveyors of hate speech is to call them out on it. We’re not sure what good would come from an FCC proceeding on this topic, but we commend NHMC for asking for a discussion rather than a regulation-making festival.