NHMC Responds to Lobbyist Martin Chavez, Questions HTTP’s Corporate Ties

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 23, 2014

CONTACT
Brian Pacheco, NHMC
bpacheco@nhmc.org
(213) 718-0732

 

“If your organization, HTTP, is truly independent, then you have the power to put it on the right path,” says NHMC President and CEO Alex Nogales  

PASADENA, Calif. - Today, the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) responded to a statement by Martin Chavez of the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP), which was posted to the organization’s website on July 17, 2014.

The following statement can be attributed to Alex Nogales, president and CEO of NHMC:

“Last week, my friend Marty Chavez of the Ibarra Strategy Group and the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP) responded to a statement I recently made highlighting his participation in a very unbalanced event,hosted on July 9, 2014 by the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute and sponsored by Verizon, AT&T and Comcast, where he and others opposed strong Open Internet rules. In my statement, I questioned whether or not it is appropriate for him to simultaneously represent the interests of corporate clients while asserting that he is working on behalf of the Latino community.

“What is most interesting about Marty’s statement is what it doesn’t say. Notably, he did not address his employment with Ibarra Strategy Group, a lobbying firm whose clients include Verizon – the main opponent to strong and enforceable Open Internet rules. One would think that a person with such an egregious conflict of interest would, at least, disclose it in his public statements. Marty, unfortunately, does not.

“Regrettably, what Marty did say in his statement is just as deceptive as what he conveniently left out. Of the many fabrications, Marty said that ‘most Latino organizations’ oppose the FCC using the sound legal authority found in Title II of the Communications Act to restrict blocking or discrimination online. This is patently false. A number of highly respected Latino organizations have sided with the community and come out in favor of strong Open Internet rules based on Title II authority, including: the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF), Presente.org, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the National Institute for Latino Policy, News Taco, Latino Rebels, and more.

“Today, I’m personally sending Marty and HTTP a copy of a letter that I recently sent to individuals and organizations that represent the Latino community – and asking him to join us in our fight to preserve the Internet as the open platform it has always been. Any group claiming to represent Latinos must recognize the important role that Internet openness has played in allowing us to tell our stories, participate in our democracy, and earn a living. It must oppose discrimination and paid prioritization online, recognizing that when anti-competitive deals are struck among large corporations at the expense of consumers and competitors, Latinos lose. It must realize that history has shown that if diverse and dissenting voices can be blocked, they will be. And finally, that it is a fact that the FCC cannot prevent these harmful practices without using the authority granted to it by Congress under Title II.

“I have a friend who often starts phone conversations by telling me that he is my conscience calling. Marty, consider this your conscience. If your organization, HTTP, is truly independent, then you have the power to put it on the right path. I urge you to join a list of millions of individualsdozens of Latino leaders and organizationsMembers of Congressestablished technology companiescreativesjournalistsinvestorseducational organizationsstart-ups, and more to make sure that our communities don’t get the short end of the stick in this debate, as they surely will without strong protections grounded in Title II legal authority. ”

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About NHMC

The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) is a media advocacy and civil rights organization for the advancement of Latinos, working towards a media that is fair and inclusive of Latinos, and towards universal, affordable, and open access to communications. Learn more at www.nhmc.org. Receive real-time updates on Facebook and Twitter @NHMC.