Responsible Speech Memorial

What is Memorial M-4?

In April 2014, MLP put forth a Memorial for Responsible Speech to the Albuquerque City Council. This memorial had been years in the making with many rounds of community input. The Memorial M-4 calls on local Albuquerque media to use fair representation and responsible speech in their reporting. This memorial is an affirmation of values and states that the people of Albuquerque with support from the City Council want responsible speech. To clarify, this is not a law. There are no fines or punishments if a media outlet uses irresponsible speech. We see this memorial as a foundation to take action when we see irresponsible speech, and we can call on this memorial as a reminder of what the community wants and values in a media outlet.

CITY of ALBUQUERQUE
TWENTY-FIRST COUNCIL

MEMORIAL M-4

CALLING FOR FAIR REPRESENTATION AND USE OF RESPONSIBLE SPEECH TOWARD MARGINALIZED GROUPS IN THE MEDIA INCLUDING TELEVISION, PRINT, RADIO, CABLE, INTERNET, BILLBOARDS, AND OTHER FORMS OF MEDIA

               WHEREAS, the City of Albuquerque values free speech and historically supported policies that prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, gender identity, gender expression, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and disability; and

               WHEREAS, the media plays a critical role in how marginalized communities are portrayed, both to children who belong to these communities and to the broader society; and

               WHEREAS, responsible speech is fundamental to responsible thinking, decision making, and the development of relationships and communities within and across contexts, cultures, channels, and media. Moreover, responsible speech enhances human worth and dignity by fostering truthfulness, fairness, responsibility, personal integrity, and respect for self and other; and

               WHEREAS, marginalized communities consist of members of religious minority groups, people of color, low-income individuals and families, those that suffer from mental illness, those who are disabled, those who are elderly, those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer, those who are undocumented, and women; and

               WHEREAS, the increase of irresponsible and disrespectful speech in the media, in addition to lack of diversity in the media, media consolidation, and media concentration, are having a profoundly negative impact on the civil rights of marginalized communities and society as a whole; and

               WHEREAS, studies indicate that there is a correlation between hate speech in the media and hate crimes and violence against marginalized communities; and

               WHEREAS, responsible speech helps to combat misunderstanding about the lived experience of these marginalized groups; and

WHEREAS, several media outlets own a significant market share of the radio airwaves, television, and print outlets in Albuquerque which inhibit the diverse spectrum of political perspectives harbored by Albuquerque residents from being accurately represented.

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL, THE GOVERNING BODY OF THE CITY OF ALBUQUERQUE:

               Section 1. The City of Albuquerque supports the use of responsible speech in the media and commends accurate and fair reporting as well as equal access to counter one-sided irresponsible and disrespectful speech in the media, and in particular, irresponsible speech on television, print, radio, cable, and the internet.

               Section 2. The City of Albuquerque urges all management of radio, print publications, and television stations in the Albuquerque area to do everything in their power to ensure that their on-air hosts and journalists use responsible speech.

               Section 3. By adoption of this memorial, derogatory language and inaccurate representation of marginalized groups used in print, radio, television, or internet based media has no place in the City of Albuquerque.