Lawmakers introduce legislation to curb hate speech on radio, TV

Senator Edward J. Markey appears on a smartphone in a campaign ad.
Senator Edward J. Markey appears on a smartphone in a campaign ad.

A pair of Democratic lawmakers have introduced a bill in both the Senate and House of Representatives that, if enacted, would seek to curb limits on the publication of so-called “hate speech” in the media.

The Hate Crime Reporting Act of 2014, introduced in both legislative houses on Wednesday, would call for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to compile a comprehensive report annually that would examine ”the role of the Internet and other telecommunications in encouraging hate crimes based on gender, race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.”

Specifically, the report would take a hard look at media broadcast over the air and on cable, as well as publications broadcast online and on “commercial mobile services,” that could be considered encouraging of such hate crimes.

The act alone wouldn’t limit what a television or radio station could air, or what a digital news organization could publish on the Internet, but the report could yield recommendations that other agencies, such as the Department of Justice or the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, could adopt to limit incendiary speech.

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