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Congressional candidate says NBC Miami rejected campaign ad over Spanish content


This article has been updated to include a statement from NBC6

Matt Haggman, a Democrat running for Congress in Miami, ripped NBC's Miami affiliate Thursday after he says they refused to run a campaign commercial because it includes 10 seconds of his wife speaking Spanish. But the station says his facts are all wrong.

According to Haggman's campaign, he purchased air time on the station recently in order to run a 15-second commercial. But Brian Svoboda, an attorney representing Haggman's campaign, says the campaign was told by its media buyer that WTVJ "would not run the advertisement because of a general policy that disfavors Spanish-language advertising."

"There is no permissible basis for your station to refuse this advertisement," Svoboda wrote Thursday in a letter addressed to the station's general manager. "Refusing the ad because it shows a woman speaking Spanish would not only be a prohibited form of content-based censorship; it would also show deep disrespect to the large Spanish-speaking audience with whom Mr. Haggman seeks to communicate—as well as to Ms. Linares, Mr. Haggman and their family.

In this case, the commercial mostly features Haggman's wife speaking in Spanish, though he speaks in English toward the end. Haggman is one of five Democrats running to replace Ileana Ros-Lehtinen as the U.S. Representative over Florida's 27th congressional district, a coastal Miami district where Hispanic voters make up the majority. Every campaign that has gone on air so far is running English and Spanish-language ads.

Haggman issued a statement calling the decision disappointing.

“This policy, which is unique among television stations in our area, is outdated, inherently discriminatory, and simply does not reflect Miami values," he said in a statement issued by his campaign. "Political speech is among the most protected of all free speech. I call on WTVJ to reverse this misguided policy and join with all other Miami-based news outlets in running our ad unabated.”

But Thursday evening, an NBC6 spokesperson said in a statement that Haggman's campaign was completely wrong, and that the ad would run as early as Friday.

"The Haggman campaign’s information is inaccurate," said the statement."We do accept Spanish-language ads, and NBC6 accepted the Haggman campaign’s ad.”