If two Democratic lawmakers have their way, Barack Obama’s Justice Department will submit a report for action against any Internet sites, broadcast, cable television or radio shows determined to be advocating or encouraging “violent acts.”
This according to the text of a new bill from Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.
The Hate Crime Reporting Act of 2014 “would create an updated comprehensive report examining the role of the Internet and other telecommunications in encouraging hate crimes based on gender, race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation and create recommendations to address such crimes,” stated a news release from Markey’s office.
The one-page bill, reviewed by WND, calls for the Justice Department and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to “analyze information on the use of telecommunications, including the Internet, broadcast television and radio, cable television, public access television, commercial mobile services, and other electronic media, to advocate and encourage violent acts and the commission of crimes of hate.”
The bill does not define which actions by broadcasters would be considered to have encouraged violence, seemingly leaving that open to interpretation.
Once the report is compiled, the bill calls for “any recommendations” for action “consistent with the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States” that is determined to be an “appropriate and necessary” way to address the purported encouragement of violent acts.
The Boston Herald took issue with the bill, calling it “frankly chilling” that Markey is seeking to “empower an obscure federal agency to begin scouring the Internet, TV and radio for speech it finds threatening.”
“Perhaps he could crack a briefing book on the crisis in Ukraine rather than looking for his own extra-constitutional methods of punishing speech he finds unacceptable,” added the Herald editorial.
With additional research by Joshua Klein.