March for Our Lives 2018. Wikimedia photo by Ziggyfan23.
Florida book ban has come for Shakespeare and far-right leaders are happy
a letter from a member of Miami’s Cuban community
To be educated, to be free
On January 26, experienced journalist Eileen Cardet talked about banned books in public schools. She said banned books were “casi pornográficos”, which means “almost pornographic,” but although sevent months almost have passed, Univision has not explained the reasons why the Spanish-language mammoth corporation TelevisaUnivision considers that banned books in public schools are almost pornographic.
As you can check at the end of this email, on several occasions I have asked to Gerardo Reyes, who is Director of Univision Investiga, Claudia Puig, who is the President and General Manager of Univision Communications, and Jorge Ramos, who is a “Special Editorial Advisor to the CEO’ of TelevisaUnivision, that they told me how they come to conclusion that “banned books in public schools are almost pornographic,” but they still don’t answer me.
Is this how a journalist acts?
In an effort to comply with a controversial law instated by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the state legislature, the school district in Florida’s fourth-most populous county is restricting teachers from teaching the full works of Shakespeare, according to a report from the Tampa Bay Times published on Monday. Violation of the law can result in a school district being ordered to pay “damages and reasonable attorney fees and court costs.”
Even Fox News reported, “Florida school district curbs Shakespeare works in classrooms with concerns ‘raunchiness’ violates state law,” but Florida’s Hispanics who don’t have internet service don’t know either that information.
Florida teachers are only going to use certain sections of William Shakespeare’s works in their classes, cutting out any content that could be deemed to conflict with the state’s new laws. The Parental Rights in Education Act, nicknamed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, was signed by DeSantis in 2022 and was originally written to, in part, prevent public school teachers from discussing gender identity and sexual orientation with students between kindergarten and third grade. DeSantis and the legislature expanded on the legislation in 2023, broadening its scope to students below kindergarten age and up to those in eighth grade.
In addition to expanding which age groups the law covers, the expansion allows parents to object to any books or classroom materials that “depicts or describes sexual conduct.” After an objection is made by a parent, the materials are required to be gone in five days “and remain unavailable to students of that school until the objection is resolved.”
Students in Hillsborough County will still learn passages from Shakespeare’s classics, such as Macbeth, Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet, but if they wish to read the full text they will have to do it out of school hours.
Associated Press reported on May 17, almost three months ago:
PEN America, Penguin Random House sue Florida school district over book bans
Writers’ group PEN America and publisher Penguin Random House sued a Florida school district Wednesday over its removal of books about race and LGBTQ+ identities, the latest opposition to a policy central to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ agenda as he prepares to run for president.
The federal lawsuit alleges the Escambia County School District and its School Board are violating the First Amendment through the removal of 10 books from library shelves.
The case does not name DeSantis as a defendant though the Republican governor has championed policies that allow the censorship and challenging of books based on whether they are appropriate for children in schools, causing national uproar.
DeSantis, who is expected to announce his presidential candidacy in the coming days, has leaned heavily into cultural divides on race, sexual orientation and gender as he moves to win support from conservative voters who decide Republican primary elections.
‘Books have the capacity to change lives for the better, and students in particular deserve equitable access to a wide range of perspectives. Censorship, in the form of book bans like those enacted by Escambia County, are a direct threat to democracy and our Constitutional rights,’ Nihar Malaviya, CEO of Penguin Random House, said in a statement.
But Florida’s Hispanics who don’t have internet service don’t know either that information because complicity from journalists who work at Miami’s Spanish-language stations with MAGA Republicans continues — does anyone doubt it?
Journalists who work at Univision and América TeVé have been very busy interviewing far-right leaders, but concealed from their audiences that their guests are enemies of democracy. For example,
Ms. María Herrera Mellado is the representative of the Spain’s far-right Vox party in Florida since 2019. For three months she has been a regular figure at TV network Univision, which is a leader in disinformation targeted at America’s Latino communities.
Mr. Eduardo Verástegui, who is a Mexican far-right leader. Although Mr. Verástegui has excellent relations with the Spain’s far-right Vox party and Telemundo reported on September 8, 2021, “¿Eduardo Verástegui dice que el temblor en México es un castigo por despenalizar el aborto?”, the Spanish-language mammoth corporation TelevisaUnivision continues concealed from their audience who really is Mr. Eduardo Verástegui — anyone surprised?
Can liberal democracy survive if journalists don’t do their job well?
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