New Mexico newspaper apologizes for cartoon linking ‘Dreamers’ to criminality

The cartoon appeared on Wednesday in the Albuquerque Journal and showed two armed men holding up a couple. (Courtesy Albuquerque Journal)
Updated 09 February 2018
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New Mexico newspaper apologizes for cartoon linking ‘Dreamers’ to criminality

A New Mexico newspaper apologized on Thursday for publishing a cartoon portraying illegal immigrants brought to the US as children as street criminals that drew widespread condemnation as racist.
Illegal immigrants brought to the US as children by their parents are known as “Dreamers” after the name of legislation that would have granted them the right to permanent residency. Congressional Republicans and Democrats fought over the legislation and the status of the “Dreamers” has been at the center of the US immigration debate and negotiations over the US budget that are ongoing.
The cartoon appeared on Wednesday in the Albuquerque Journal and showed two armed men holding up a couple. One of the men is wearing a jacket that says MS-13, the name of a criminal street gang that has ties to the Central American country of El Salvador. Republican President Donald Trump has blamed illegal immigration for the spread of MS-13 in the US.
In the cartoon, the woman utters a profanity and the man responds, “Now, Honey ... I believe they prefer to be called ‘Dreamers’ ... or future Democrats.”
Another armed man in the cartoon holds a sword, with a mask on his face and sticks of dynamite around his chest, in an apparent depiction of a suicide bomber.
“In hindsight, instead of generating debate, this cartoon only inflamed emotions,” Karen Moses, executive editor of the Albuquerque Journal, said in a statement. “This was not the intent, and for that, the Journal apologizes.”
All of the US senators and members of Congress from New Mexico condemned the cartoon in a joint statement, saying it “plays to the most false and negative stereotype of ‘Dreamers,’ which can only serve to enrage extremists.”
A photographer at the Albuquerque Journal who is originally from El Salvador also criticized the cartoon on Twitter.
Sean Delonas, the artist who drew the cartoon, could not be reached for comment.
He told the New York Times that he believed immigrants should come legally to the US, the Times reported.


Facebook says it was ‘too slow’ to fight hate speech in Myanmar

Updated 16 August 2018
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Facebook says it was ‘too slow’ to fight hate speech in Myanmar

YANGON: Facebook has been “too slow” to address hate speech in Myanmar and is acting to remedy the problem by hiring more Burmese speakers and investing in technology to identify problematic content, the company said in a statement on Thursday.
The acknowledgement came a day after a Reuters investigation showed why the company has failed to stem a wave of vitriolic posts about the minority Rohingya.
Some 700,000 Rohingya fled their homes last year after an army crackdown that the United States denounced as ethnic cleansing. The Rohingya now live in teeming refugee camps in Bangladesh.
“The ethnic violence in Myanmar is horrific and we have been too slow to prevent misinformation and hate speech on Facebook,” Facebook said.
The Reuters story revealed the social media giant for years dedicated scant resources to combating hate speech in Myanmar, which is a market it dominates and where there have been repeated eruptions of ethnic violence.
In early 2015, for instance, there were only two people at Facebook who could speak Burmese monitoring problematic posts.
In Thursday’s statement, posted online, Facebook said it was using tools to automatically detect hate speech and hiring more Burmese-language speakers to review posts, following up on a pledge made by founder Mark Zuckerberg to US senators in April.
The company said that it had over 60 “Myanmar language experts” in June and plans to have at least 100 by the end of the year.
Reuters found more than 1,000 examples of posts, comments, images and videos denigrating and attacking the Rohingya and other Muslims that were on the social media platform as of last week.
Some of the material, which included pornographic anti-Muslim images, has been up on Facebook for as long as six years.
There are numerous posts that call the Rohingya and other Muslims dogs and rapists, and urge they be exterminated.
Facebook currently doesn’t have a single employee in Myanmar, relying instead on an outsourced, secretive operation in Kuala Lumpur – called Project Honey Badger – to monitor hate speech and other problematic posts, the Reuters investigation showed.
Because Facebook’s systems struggle to interpret Burmese script, the company is heavily dependent on users reporting hate speech in Myanmar.
Researchers and human rights activists say they have been warning Facebook for years about how its platform was being used to spread hatred against the Rohingya and other Muslims in Myanmar.
In its statement on Thursday, Facebook said it had banned a number of Myanmar hate figures and organizations from the platform.