MMTC Asks FCC For Action On Multilingual Emergency Alerts
August 27, 2015 at 4:04 AM (PT)
The MULTICULTURAL MEDIA, TELECOM AND INTERNET COUNCIL was joined by 25 civil rights and consumer groups in a letter once again asking the FCC to require multilingual emergency alerts in markets where "sizeable populations are non-English speaking." The MMTC first petitioned the Commission for multilingual EAS in 2005, as HURRICANE KATRINA hit NEW ORLEANS.
“HURRICANE KATRINA will be commemorated this week, but it should never be forgotten, because it can happen again,” said MMTC Pres./CEO KIM M. KEENAN. “For families whose primary language is not English, emergency information before, during, and after a natural disaster is the lifeline that could mean the difference between life and death. Upgrading our nation’s emergency broadcasting system to serve a nation that is increasingly diverse in ethnicity and language must be a priority to ensure that no one is left behind in a disaster.”
“This is one of the most critical issues that the FCC has ever faced,” added President Emeritus DAVID HONIG, who wrote the 2005 petition. “We are talking about the lives of thousands of people who are not served by broadcasters in their native language. When wireless towers went down during KATRINA, broadcast stations survived, and because of this, station owners and operators should be proactive in updating their alerts to be multilingual. It must be part of the evaluation of their fitness as license holders with the FCC and the American public.”