June 2010

In this issue:

  • Pesident’s Messsage
  • Washington D.C. Update
  • Communications Law 101:Holding Broadcasters Accountable
  • “Youth Safety on a Living Internet”
  • Help NILC Stop Arizona’s Racial Profiling Law
  • NHMC Supports Rain of Gold Mini-Series
  • NHMC Recommends…
  • NHMC Welcomes New Executive Assistant
  • Congratulations to Inez Gonzalez
  • Netroots Nation Conference
  • Congratulations to Monica Lozano
  • Thank You Chairman Jose Serrano
  • NLMC Writers Program
  • White House Internships
  • NBC Wants YOUR Short Film
  • ABC Writing Program
  • NILC Nomination for Working Assets/CREDO

President’s Message

Over the past month NHMC has been focused on two very important issues. The first is the proposed $30 billion merger between Comcast and NBC-Universal. On June 7th, I testified at a House Judiciary Committee Hearing in Los Angeles on the merger. This proposed juggernaut will impact broadcasting, cable and the internet as we know it. In my testimony I shared NHMC’s concerns regarding the merger. Below are excerpts from my remarks. "NHMC is not against this joint venture providing that strong, verifiable and enforceable conditions are imposed and agreed to by Comcast. This is a gigantic deal, one of such enormous proportions that it is sure to bring about more media consolidation. For the first time in our history a cable giant, Comcast, will not only have dissemination of content but also own the content of a major film studio and television network." "NBC has a relatively fair record with the diversity initiatives I mentioned earlier. Comcast does not. In the year 2000, the Multi-Ethnic Media Coalition, signed diversity Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX. The progress at the networks has been incremental, but we are a long way from where we started." "Comcast, as I’ve indicated does not have a great diversity record. But the past is the past, and we can only concentrate on the present and future. This is a gigantic deal and if Comcast wants our support on it, it must agree to conditions. NHMC is one of six Latino organizations negotiating an MOU with Comcast. We’re very close to agreeing on all the diversity initiatives. For NHMC, the most important initiative is media ownership." "Allow me to give you some other numbers. In 2008, Comcast earned over $34.3 billion in revenue. NBC earned $16.9 billion. Comcast reaches one in four cable subscribers and its service territory covers 52% of all ethnic cable households. NBC owns 25 local television stations and the national broadcast network reaches 99% of U.S. homes with television sets. In other words, an incredible amount of revenue that a combined Comcast NBC/Universal powerhouse will earn if this deal is approved will come from communities of color. It is therefore reasonable to expect that people of color should also share in the prosperity by having their own minority owned and operated networks carried and distributed by Comcast in all of their cable systems." The second issue that we have been focusing on is the dangers of hate speech in media. This month we saw good progress that was met with an ugly backlash. As many of you know, in January 2009 NHMC filed a petition for inquiry asking the FCC to examine the extent of hate speech in media, its effects on communities, and to explore non-regulatory ways to counteract any of its negative effects. In May 2010 NHMC, along with more than thirty other organizations, filed joint comments in the FCC’s proceeding about the "Future of Media in the Digital Age." In that proceeding our comment explained that speech advocating violence against Latinos and others is prevalent in our media. We asked the FCC to grant our petition for inquiry to examine the issue further. That same month, FCC Chair Julius Genachowski wrote letters to Senator Menendez and Congresswoman Velazquez in response to their support of NHMC’s petition for inquiry. In one letter Genachowski writes "I share many concerns about this issue, including the effects of perpetrating stereotypes and encouraging acts of violence against particular individuals or groups." Genachowski further states that he has directed the Commission’s Media Bureau to complete its review of NHMC’s Petition as quickly as possible. Soon after Genachowski sent those letters, Ars Technica, a well-respected technology journal wrote a thorough article on NHMC’s petition, this article was then picked up by many including the widely-read The Hill. As a result of the media attention, the right-wing extremists put out a call- to-action and NHMC along with many of its allies received intimidating phone calls and e-mail messages. Click here to hear an one angry message. Despite the fact that we have been crystal clear that we are not seeking – and WILL NOT SEEK – content regulation of hate speech in media, our efforts have been misconstrued or downright misrepresented. Some have insinuated that we want the FCC to censor hate speech. Such claims are false. To be plain, NHMC has simply asked the FCC to study hate speech in media and whether or not it may lead to violence. Nothing more and nothing less. It is completely appropriate to ask the FCC to conduct such a study, as the agency has a history of examining the role of media in society. There is no doubt that the issue of hate speech may cause uncomfortable conversations for all parties involved, but that fact alone should not foreclose the discussion – indeed having the discussion is the very essence of what the First Amendment is all about. Months like this make me feel especially proud about our NHMC team and the work that we do on behalf of the Latino community. You have our commitment that we will continue to fight for diversity in media and to bring attention to the dangers of hate speech in media. Adelante!

Washington, D.C. Update by Monica Guzman

Hello everyone. My name is Monica Guzman, and in the fall I will begin my final year of law school at Santa Clara University. I am a recent recipient of a Google Policy Fellowship which is allowing me to work on law and policy this summer in NHMC’s Washington DC office. This is the first time NHMC has hosted a law fellow. During my stay here I will receive hands-on legal training from Jessica J. Gonzalez, NHMC’s VP of Policy and Legal Affairs, on media and telecommunications policies that affect the Latino and other communities of color. As mentioned in the March newsletter, NHMC plans to comment in certain proceedings born in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan (NBP). This summer one of my main focuses will be to draft FCC comments in those proceedings that may impact the Latino and other communities of color. A major goal of the NBP is to make broadband access available and affordable to everyone. This summer NHMC will comment on two proceedings toward this goal: reform of the Universal Service Fund (USF) and the E-rate Program. Since 1996 the USF has made telephone service more accessible and affordable. NHMC will urge that the USF be reformed to do the same for broadband access. The E-rate Program offers discounts for libraries and schools so that they can provide Internet access to the public. NHMC will examine the program and recommend ways in which it can better serve communities of color and the poor. Aside from preparing comments for FCC proceedings, I have been researching local mobile phone companies to make sure that their practices are fair and consumer friendly. Click here to read our Media Policy Watch Update.

Communications Law 101: Holding Broadcasters Accountable to the Public

Since 1934 the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") has been Congressionally-mandated to ensure that broadcasters operate in the "public interest." Because broadcasters are using a public resource – the airwaves – and because not every member of the public can own a broadcast station, those who do must serve the public in their respective communities. In an unanimous1969 Supreme Court decision, Justice Byron White wrote that "the people as a whole retain their interest in free speech by radio and their collective right to have the medium function consistently with the ends and purposes of the First Amendment. … It is the right of the viewers and listeners, not the right of the broadcasters, which is paramount." NHMC’s mission is based in part on ensuring that the FCC carries out its mandate. To the extent possible, when broadcasters engage in activities that seem contrary to their obligation to serve the public, NHMC urges them to return to responsible broadcasting, especially when the broadcasters’ actions harm Latinos. Unfortunately, we saw two such incidents over the past month. The first was a television station in Seattle, KCPQ, that refused to air a videotape of a police officer kicking an innocent Latino in the head while screaming, "I am going to beat the f****** Mexican piss out of you." Click here to watch the video footage from a local newstation. The second was on WTVN, a talk radio station in Columbus, Ohio that ran a contest with the following promotion: "610 WTVN would like to send you where Americans are proud and illegals are scared, sunny Phoenix, Arizona! You’ll spend a weekend chasing aliens and spending cash in the desert, just make sure you’ve got your green card! Win round trip airfare to Phoenix, hotel accommodations, and a few pesos in spending cash." Over the next month NHMC will push these broadcasters to do better, and in next month’s newsletter, we will share ways that you as individuals can hold your local broadcasters accountable. Stay tuned!

"Youth Safety on a Living Internet"

Last fall, Jessica J. Gonzalez, NHMC’s VP of Policy and Legal Affairs, participated in the NTIA’s Online Safety and Technology Working Group report "Youth Safety on a Living Internet." The report focused on examining the efforts of industries and service providers to promote online safety for youth. The report gave recommendations on initiatives that can be taken to further advance the goal of providing a safer online experience for children. Jessica spoke about the harmful impact of online hate content on youth. "Speech that induces encourages or otherwise legitimizes violence against particular groups of people, that … truly crosses the line or dances very close to the line of unprotected speech" says Jessica. Click here to read the full report.

Help NILC Stop Arizona’s Racial Profiling Law

On April 23, Arizona declared open season on communities of color in the state by passing SB 1070, the nation’s most anti-immigrant piece of legislation, into law. Before it was even signed into law, the National Immigration Law Center began developing a legal strategy to fight back. They ultimately filed a class action lawsuit to challenge the new law, and are now leading this litigation effort along with their allies. On June 4th, NILC and co-counsel took a major step forward and asked the court to block implementation of SB 1070. NILC is confident that after a thorough review of our request to stop the law from going into effect while the legal challenge goes forward, the court will agree that that the law is unconstitutional and that it threatens the basic rights and civil liberties of the plaintiffs and the myriad Arizona communities they represent. NILC lawyers are currently spending countless hours in time and travel to beat back this dangerous precedent and defend the rights of millions of Arizonans. With an annual budget of only $6,000 for all of NILC’s litigation expenses, they are currently dipping into a limited pool of unrestricted funds to support their critical role in the SB 1070 lawsuit. NILC needs the help of individuals like you now more than ever before to fund the legal battle necessary to rid Arizona and our country of this pernicious anti-immigrant law. NHMC urges all of you to contribute to NILC’s legal fund. Your contribution of $5, $10, $25, or more will help continue to fight for justice and equal protection under the law for all.

NHMC Supports Rain of Gold Mini-Series

NHMC rallied the support for Victor Villaseñor’s book Rain of Gold to be turned into a miniseries on HBO. "This (Rain of Gold) is our roots," said Alex Nogales, "and it couldn’t be coming at a more important moment for us and for the nation as a whole" Rain of Gold tells a powerful story of sacrifice, love, and family while reconfirming all our faith in the American Dream. We look forward to seeing the mini-series on HBO. We commend all the groups and organization that sent letters of support. We look forward to seeing the mini-series on HBO and congratulate HBO leadership for bringing this important story to the small screen. Update (6/24/10): It’s still not too late to show your support. Click here to read a message from Victor Villaseñor.

NHMC Recommends…..

NHMC recommends the new movie "Revolución" that is currently playing at the Los Angeles Film Festival. The film consists of a compilation of 10 short films by 10 different Mexican directors and themes the legacy of the 1910-1920 Mexican Revolution. According to the Los Angeles Times the "films raise many unanswered and perhaps unanswerable questions about where Mexico has been and where its people, politics and culture are headed." The movie’s release has been timed to coincide with this year’s heavily hyped centennial celebrations taking place on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. We are also looking forward to watching the premiere of Oliver Stone’s South of the Border documentary that will be released on June 25. The film chronicles Stone’s travels to South America in the winter of 2009 and tells the story of the rise to power of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and other South American presidents responsible for sweeping changes in the region. The film features intimate conversations with Chávez, Evo Morales (Bolivia), Lula da Silva (Brazil), Cristina Kirchner (Argentina), as well as her husband and ex-President Néstor Kirchner, Fernando Lugo (Paraguay), Rafael Correa (Ecuador), and Raúl Castro (Cuba). More details are available at http://www.southoftheborderdoc.com/. Evangeline, the Queen of Make-Believe is a theatrical collaboration with Los Lobos composer/musician Louie Perez. It explores the late 60s history of E.L.A. through the eyes of Evangeline, a devout daughter by day and a Hollywood go-go dancer by night. Her make-believe world transforms as she explores the seminal music and art world of the Sunset Strip, Laurel Canyon and La Cienega Boulevard. As her life expands beyond her neighborhood, her own community is punctuated with the explosive sensibilities of the high school student walkouts, and the Chicano Moratorium. See the work-in-progress presentation free this Saturday June 26th at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, June 27th: 3:00 p.m at Plaza de la Raza’s Margo Albert Theater. We hope you enjoy our featured recommendations!

NHMC Welcomes New Executive Assistant

NHMC has a new addition to the team. Brenda Rivas is the new Executive Assistant to Alex Nogales and will be based in our Pasadena office. She is a graduate from the University of Southern California where she obtained her degree in Cinematic Arts with an emphasis in Critical Studies. She is looking forward to serving and working with all of you. Please feel free to contact her at brivas@nhmc.org.

Congratulations to Inez Gonzalez!

Congratulations to Inez Gonzalez, NHMC’s Executive Vice President, who has been accepted to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Inez will be moving in July to Cambridge, MA for ten months where she will pursue a mid-career Masters in Public Administration. We are happy to report, however, that she is not leaving the NHMC team. Indeed, she will be working part time on NHMC’s major issues. The NHMC team congratulates Inez and wishes her Godspeed.

Netroots Nation Conference

Congratulations to NHMC’s Communications Coordinator, Tatiana Arizaga, whom is a ZeroDivide scholarship recipient for the 2010 Netroots Nation Conference. Each year, Netroots Nation provides activists a way to get plugged in to the online community and learn valuable skills and organizing tactics, while inspiring action and growing new ideas to affect change and bring back fresh ideas, new connections and energy to their communities.

Congratulations to Monica Lozano

Monica Lozano was named CEO of ImpreMedia, the nation’s largest Spanish-language newspaper company and owner of the Los Angeles daily La Opinión, El Diario La Prensa of New York, and El Mensajero of San Francisco amongst others. She will keep her current post as publisher of La Opinión which was founded by her grandfather and which became a part of ImpreMedia in 2004. Felicidades Monica!

Thank You!

NHMC thanks Chairman Jose Serrano for being a champion for the public in a June 9th FCC oversight hearing. Chairman Serrano endorsed Public, Educational and Government (PEG) stations and opposed amendment language that would have prevented the FCC from protecting consumers and expanding affordable broadband to communities of color and the poor. You can watch Chairman Serrano advocate for PEG access here.

NLMC Writers Program

We are now accepting submissions for our 2010 NLMC Writers Program. This program is not for beginners. It is for those writers who can write at least one half-hour comedy or one-hour dramatic television script in English within a five-week period of time. The program will take place in Burbank, CA from November 8th to December 10th. Each participant is expected to complete at least one script by the end of the five-week session, which will then be read by network executives. Those writers whose scripts show promise will be interviewed and mentored by the network executives with the idea of placing them on a show. Click here for more information.

White House Internships: A Public Service Leadership Program

The White House Internship Program provides a unique opportunity to gain valuable professional experience and build leadership skills. This hands-on program is designed to mentor and cultivate today’s young leaders, strengthen their understanding of the Executive Office and prepare them for future public service opportunities. The Fall 2010 White House Internship application has been posted! Click here for more details.

NBC Wants YOUR Short Film

NBC Universal is seeking submissions for a unique showcase of short films and videos produced with a diverse production team, cast or theme. Click here for more info.

ABC Writing Program

ABC Television Group is now accepting applications for the 2011 Writing Program. Celebrating its 20th year, the Writing Program gives participants the opportunity to hone their craft and jumpstart their careers through intensive workshops, seminars and personalized mentoring with creative executives from ABC. Participants also receive a salary for a one-year period. Click here for more info.

NILC Nomination for Working Assets/CREDO

The National Immigration Law Center has been among the select nonprofits chosen to be a part of the Working Assets/CREDO donations program. If you are a Working Assets/CREDO credit card, long-distance or wireless customer you can nominate NILC to receive funding in 2011. The deadline for nominations is June 30, 2010. Just list Marisa Aguayo as the primary development contact, and select "Civil Rights" as NILC’s issue area. For more information about how to nominate NILC, call (213) 674-2818 or email aguayo@nilc.org.]]>

National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) is a woman-led 501(c)(3) non-profit civil and human rights organization that was founded to eliminate hate, discrimination, and racism toward the Latino communities.
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