Sen. Markey and Rep. Jeffries Introduce Legislation To Examine and Prevent the Promotion of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech in Media



Sen. Markey is author of original provision calling for examination of telecommunications influence on hate crimes

Boston (April 16, 2014) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, introduced legislation to examine the prevalence of hate crime and hate speech on the Internet, television, and radio to better address such crimes. The Hate Crime Reporting Act of 2014 (S.2219) would create an updated comprehensive report examining the role of the Internet and other telecommunications in encouraging hate crimes based on gender, race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation and create recommendations to address such crimes.

In 1992, then-Rep. Markey, through the Telecommunications Authorization Act, directed the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to examine the role of telecommunications in encouraging hate crimes. Senator Markey’s legislation will provide a comprehensive updated report on the current prevalence of hate crimes and hate speech in telecommunications, as the last report was conducted and submitted to Congress over two decades ago, in December 1993. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives, H.R. 3878.

“We have recently seen in Kansas the deadly destruction and loss of life that hate speech can fuel in the United States, which is why it is critical to ensure the Internet, television and radio are not encouraging hate crimes or hate speech that is not outside the protection of the First Amendment,” said Senator Markey. “Over 20 years have passed since I first directed the NTIA to review the role that telecommunications play in encouraging hate crimes. My legislation would require the agency to update this critical report for the 21st century.”

A copy of the legislation can be found HERE

“The Internet has proven to be a tremendous platform for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. However, at times it has also been used as a place where vulnerable persons or groups can be targeted,” said Rep. Jeffries. “I commend Senator Markey for his longstanding leadership with respect to combating Hate Crimes in America. He understands that in the digital era it is important to comprehensively evaluate the scope of criminal and hateful activity on the Internet that occurs outside of the zone of First Amendment protection. With the introduction of Senator Markey’s bill, we have taken a substantial step toward addressing this issue.” 

“I thank Senator Markey for his career-long commitment to ensuring that we have the data necessary to confront and combat hate speech in the media that targets our most vulnerable communities,” said President & CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition Alex Nogales. “NHMC has long-recognized that an update to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's 1993 report, ‘The Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes’, is long overdue and desperately needed given the incredible evolution of our communications systems over the past 21 years as well as the ever-increasing numbers of hate crimes targeting Latinos and others. As the author of the original piece of legislation directing the 1993 report, there is nobody better than Senator Markey to join Congressman Hakeem Jeffries and others in calling on the NTIA to study this pressing issue once again.”

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