With Hate Crimes On The Rise, Menendez Calls For Updated Federal Study On The Link Between The Media And The Perpetuation Of Hate Crimes

With Hate Crimes On The Rise, Menendez Calls For Updated Federal Study On The Link Between The Media And The Perpetuation Of Hate Crimes

Washington - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today asked Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez for an updated study of a 1993 congressionally-mandated report on the relationship between the use of electronic communications and media communications to encourage acts of hate crimes or to spread messages of hate.

In the letter (http://menendez.senate.gov/pdf/120507lettertoSecretaryofCommerce.pdf), Sen. Menendez says that now is the ideal time to revive this study because of the emotionally-driven and biased rhetoric over immigration reform in our current national discourse.

"Day after day, we hear rhetoric like: 'the Latino invasion', 'illegal alien lobby', 'amnesty agenda', 'criminal illegal aliens', and 'socio-ethnocentric interest groups' broadcast on our nation's television, radio and internet outlets," said Menendez in the letter. "I am concerned that this rhetoric could have a harmful effect on the portrayal and safety of our nation's immigrant population, as well as our Latino communities as a whole."

In 1992, Congress directed the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to study the use of telecommunications (including broadcast radio and television) to advocate or encourage violent acts and the committing of crimes of hate against groups of people. This study, published in 1993, took into account not only messages threatening unlawful action, but also situations in which the speaker intended to create a climate of hate or prejudice.

Additionally, the FBI released a report this year showing that in 2006 hate crimes against Latinos have increased by 25% since 2004. To read the FBI's press release, click here: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/hc2006/pressrelease.html.


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