January 6, 2022
One Year After the Insurrection: Dangerous Disinformation & Hate Towards the Latino Community Remains Unchecked
A Statement from Brenda Victoria Castillo, President & CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC)
On January 6, 2021, the foundations of our democracy were shaken to their very core. A year after the insurrection, we still see rampant disinformation and hate continue to split our country apart. The National Hispanic Media Coalition carries on its mission to combat these falsehoods that pursue the health and constitutional rights of the Latinx community, whose needs and protections are often overlooked.
The violent insurrection of January 6 demonstrated how disinformation can be weaponized and lead people to commit heinous acts. It is of the utmost priority to protect targeted communities – notably the Latinx community – from this very hate and disinformation that seeks to diminish and silence us.
Latinos have become nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population, and as our political influence increases, our community has become a larger target of both hate and disinformation. When the El Paso Massacre occurred in 2019, the domestic terrorist responsible explicitly reasoned his rampage online as a means to stop the “Hispanic invasion.”
A recent Nielsen report showed Latino audiences are more likely to receive, consume, and share fake news online than the general population. The Latino community is more vulnerable to disinformation due to a greater reliance on social media.
The rise of harmful content targeting Latinx communities has increased on social media platforms and traditional media. Social media platforms, broadcast and cable TV networks and Spanish language radio broadcasts have continued to perpetuate lies about political issues, candidates, or parties to the detriment of the Latinx community. Additionally, disinformation on Covid-19 has been focused on our community, despite Latinx overwhelmingly serving as front-line workers, including the healthcare industry, throughout the pandemic.
This rise of hate and disinformation is partially due to the lack of content moderation or regulations to adequately prevent hateful, false, or defamatory content targeting Latinos and Spanish-speaking communities – the same lack of moderation that led to the January 6 insurrection.
As we begin the new year, NHMC is committed to identifying and informing our community of risks from all forms of media and exploring legislative and regulatory mechanisms to reform existing laws to strengthen civil rights protections. We call on all media platforms around the country to take responsibility and do the same.