Bill to Study Hate Speech on the Internet

Advancing Justice-AAJC Applauds Bill to Study Hate Speech on the Internet

Last Report was Conducted More Than 20 Years Before the Internet

WASHINGTON – Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) welcomed Wednesday’s introduction of the Hate Crime Reporting Act. The bill would direct the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to analyze the use of telecommunications, including the internet, television and radio, to encourage hate crimes and spread hate speech.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) sponsored the bill. Asian Pacific American Caucus Chairwoman Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) joined 10 other co-sponsors in bringing it to the House. The bill would require NTIA to update its 1993 report that analyzed the role of telecommunications on the commission of hate crimes.

“In 21 years the internet, wireless technology and the media landscape have drastically changed,” said Jason Lagria, Advancing Justice-AAJC senior staff attorney for media and telecommunications. “The 1993 report is severely outdated and needs to be updated to reflect modern communications and the proliferation of hate speech on the internet that foments racial prejudice and hate crimes.”

Advancing Justice – AAJC and its colleagues have advocated for the commission of this study for many years.

“Studying hate speech in the digital age is a critical step in addressing and preventing the harms that members of the Asian American community have suffered due to hatred and intolerance,” said Mee Moua, Advancing Justice – AAJC president.

Specifically, the bill would require NTIA to analyze use of telecommunications, such as the internet, broadcast television and radio, to advocate and encourage violent acts and the commissions of hate crimes. The report must also make policy recommendations, consistent with the First Amendment, to address the use of telecommunications to encourage hate crimes. A 2012 FBI report found that 48 percent of 5,790 single-bias hate crime incidents were racially motivated.

“We applaud Congressman Jeffries and the bill’s co-sponsors for their leadership in working to secure this critically important study,” Lagria added. “We look forward to working with Congress to ensure the bill’s passage.”