Tuesday, November 20, 2007

FBI Report Documents Hate Crimes Against Latinos At Record Level

Hate crimes rise as anti-immigrant campaigns fill the airwaves and fuel anti-immigrant local ordinances

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Federal Bureau of Investigation Hate Crimes Statistics Report released today demonstrates the real societal impact of anti-immigrant campaigns launched over the airwaves and through anti-immigrant legislation. The report shows a sharp increase in the number of hate crimes reported against Hispanics based on their ethnicity or national origin to the highest levels since the reports were first mandated by the Hate Crimes Statistics Act.

According to the report, in 2006, Hispanics comprised 62.8% of victims of crimes motivated by a bias toward the victims’ ethnicity or national origin. In 2004, the comparable figure was 51.5%. Since 2004, the number of victims of anti-Hispanic crimes increased by 25%.

“Anti-immigrant hatred heard on the radio and cable shows reaches America’s neighborhoods with real consequences,” stated MALDEF President and General Counsel John Trasviña. “Heightened anti-immigrant sentiment has blocked immigration reform and seeks to turn local police into immigration law enforcers thus making it more difficult for victims to report crimes. The FBI report should serve as a wake up call to our nation’s leaders to take action on comprehensive immigration reform, reduce tensions and safeguard the basic civil rights and liberties of all Americans.”

The report goes on to demonstrate the steady growth of anti-Hispanic hate crimes after 2004.

2006: 576 anti-Hispanic crimes against 819 victims

2005: 522 anti-Hispanic crimes against 722 victims

2004: 475 anti-Hispanic crimes against 646 victims

2003: 426 anti-Hispanic crimes against 595 victims

2002: 480 anti-Hispanic crimes against 639 victims

Friday, November 2, 2007

No Treats for FCC Chair and Media Monopolists

By John Nichols, The Nation

Federal Communications Commission chair Kevin Martin is doing everything he can to prevent public input that would challenge his rush to have the commission radically rewrite media ownership rules before Christmas. His latest tactic was to schedule a last-minute Halloween hearing on the proposed rule change -- which would allow one media conglomerate to own the daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, television and radio stations and primary internet news sites in a community.

But Martin's trick earned no treats for the media monopolists he seeks to serve, as the sneaky chairman was called on the carpet by his fellow commissioners, members of Congress and one of the nation's largest and most vigilant religious groupings.

Dissident commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein appeared at a rally outside the FCC's office in Washington to object to Martin's chicanery. "Neither we nor the public received any confirmation that the hearing would occur until ... just 5 business days before the event," the commissioners said before entering the building for the hearing. "This is unacceptable and unfair to the public."

Joining Copps and Adelstein were political, labor and community leaders who condemned Martin's assault not merely on media diversity but on the basic standards for making regulatory shifts.

"We cannot and we will not let the FCC shove new media ownership rules down our throats," said Congressman Maurice Hinchey, the New York Democrat who chairs the Future of Media Caucus in the U.S. House. "It is our constitutional obligation to stand up and demand that we see greater media ownership diversity, not less."

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said in his role as president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition,"We have a media diversity crisis -- too few, own too much, at the expense of too many. Stopping media consolidation is the most important way to help minority ownership. But the FCC is trying to fast-track media consolidation instead of creating policies that expand ownership opportunities. The FCC should be serving people, not profit."

L.A. Times story on FCC Hearing

NAHJ's Letter on Broadcast Minority Ownership Task Force