NAHJ Asks Justice Dept. to Block Arizona Law

By: E&P Staff

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) has called on the U.S. Justice Department to take legal action to block Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070, which it says encourages racial profiling of immigrants and Latinos because of its standard of “reasonable suspicion.”
 
America’s largest professional organization for Latino journalists is also calling upon its members to provide “the kind of comprehensive, nuanced, balanced and accurate coverage that this measure and the entire issue of immigration requires,” the group said in a statement.  “Narrow coverage that focuses purely on the passions excited by these issues ill serves the cause of knowledge and an informed citizenry.”
 
Press coverage of the bill, NAHJ stressed, is critical at this juncture. “Using terms like ‘illegal alien,’ ‘illegals’ as a noun, and ‘anchor babies’ is dehumanizing and by their bias and loaded nature, eliminate any semblance of fairness when covering the debate,” the group said. 
 
NAHJ also voiced another concern: “Because of the passions provoked by this debate, it might be tempting for news organizations to shy from allowing Latino journalists from taking the lead or participating in such coverage. However, Latino journalists, who work under the same rules of ethics and standards as do other journalists, often offer an understanding and expertise that might otherwise go lacking.

“In any case, a reputable news organization would not remove someone with an expertise in legal or health matters from reporting on those issues because “they are too close to the issue.” The same standard should apply to those who, by virtue of study or life experience, can bring the same kind of expertise to immigration coverage.”

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