Hispanic Group Seeks Support For FCC Hate Speech Inquiry

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Representatives of the National Hispanic Media Coalition met with Federal Communications Commission commissioner Mignon Clyburn and her chief of staff, Angela Kronenberg Thursday, seeking support for opening an official inquiry into "the extent and effects of hate speech in media."

That is according to an ex parte filling at the commission from NHMC vice president Jessica Gonzalez outlining the meeting topics.  Gonzalez was also in attendance.

The NHMC delegation, led by President Alex Nogales, was not pushing for rules, according to Gonzalez. Instead, she wrote, they were seeking "non-regulatory ways" to counter such speech.

Nogales argued that hate speech against Latinos has increased since NHMC first filed its petition for inquiry last year.
In that petition , NHMC said that hate speech was prevalent on cable new nets, as well as talk radio.
NHMC defined hate speech as speech whose cumulative effect is to create an atmosphere of hate and prejudice
that "legitimizes" violence against its targets.

NHMC has been looking for a sympathetic ear from an FCC under Democratic hands, citing candidate Barack
Obama's fall 2008 speech to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus about immigrants were "counting on us to stop the hateful rhetoric filling the airwaves."

The group has been careful not to raise the fairness doctrine issue that has become a red flag for conservative talkers and bloggers. It said when it first sought the FCC inquiry in January 2009 that it was not asking the FCC to re-impose the fairness doctrine, something some congressional Democrats have suggested they might want to do. But it does want the FCC to collect data, seek public comment, and explore what it says is the relationship between hate speech and hate crimes and "explore options" for combating it.

The doctrine, which was scrapped as unconstitutional by the FCC in 1987, required broadcasters to seek out and offer airtime to opposing viewpoints on controversial issues.

While he had the face time with Clyburn, Nogales also gave a shout-out to the memorandum of understanding his group had signed with Comcast/NBC Universal in June. He said it would "diversify" Comcast, but also said the FCC needed to make that understanding an enforceable condition of the merger.

Kronenberg was not available at press time for comment on Clyburn's reaction to the request for support for the hate speech petition.

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