Our VoiceNews & Politics

Sen. Markey, Rep. Jefferies introduce bill to examine Internet’s role in hate crimes

Karl Schuster • Apr 24, 2014

Last week Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced S.2219, better known as the “Hate Crime Reporting Act of 2014.” Introduced as a companion bill to Hakeem Jefferies’ (D-NY) bill in the House of Representatives, both bills seek to examine the documentation and reporting of hate crimes and activity — particularly the role of the Internet in encouraging crimes based on gender, race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) has been campaigning for such a bill for nearly 10 years and was a key player in a coalition that pushed for it to be introduced in both legislative bodies.

NHMC’s President and CEO Alex Nogales praised the lawmakers for their support of the measure.

“Senator Markey, Congressman Jeffries and their co-sponsors on these companion bills are at the forefront of protecting the civil rights of all people,” Nogales said. “By supporting legislation to shed light on the impacts of hate speech, they are paving a road to understanding the underpinnings of violent crime and other unrest in this country.”

Sen. Markey, in a press release from his office, stated:

“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 outside the protection of the First Amendment.

“This legislation is long overdue in that the last government study on hate activities on the internet occurred in 1993 – a time in which only the most primitive online tools were in use for the discussion of far-Right activities. Clearly in the more than 20 years since that study online hate speech has increased with the increased prevalence of the internet in our lives and, as a recent report from the Southern Poverty Law Center notes, the danger posed by some users of these sites and services is very real.“

“National Hispanic Media Coalition, its partners and the legislators advocating for the Hate Crimes Reporting act should be applauded for their efforts,” said Jill Garvey, executive director of Center for New Community, an organization that investigates and monitors hate activity. “Their work is closing a critical gap in hate speech monitoring and will surely lessen the level of violence incited by hateful rhetoric.”

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