"The heads of the House committee and subcommittee overseeing communications issues, respectively, have asked the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) to study the use of "telecommunications to commit hate crimes."
While NTIA, which is the Bush administration's telecommunications policy advisory arm, already produced a study on the topic under the first president Bush back in 1992, Reps. John Dingell and Ed Markey urged it to update the study given the rise in the Internet since them. But, according to a release from the commitee issued Monday, they also said they are also "particularly" interested in studying "uses by broadcast facilites licensed on behalf of the public by the FCC, and whether such uses convey messages of bigotry or hatred, creating a climate of fear and inciting individuals to commit hate crimes."
A committee source would not say what had engendered that particular concern about broadcasters' conveying "messages of bigotry and hatred," adding that it was a general query rather than targeted at any one group. But some Democrats and media activist groups have been highly critical of conservative talk radio, labeling it hate speech.
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