Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

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Tobacco marketing targeted Blacks with ‘devastating effects’

Black media now seeks inclusion in tobacco settlement 
News Analysis

By George E. Curry

Contributing Writer

 

The National Association of Newspaper Publishers (NNPA) and the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB), two industry trade associations whose members reach more than 95 percent of African Americans, filed a friend-of-the-court brief objecting to the exclusion of all Black media companies in a proposed settlement that requires the tobacco industry to run ads and TV commercials to correct their misleading assertions about the harmful effects of smoking. The amicus brief was filed last Friday in federal court in Washington, D.C. U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler is expected to review the proposed agreement Wednesday and consider the merits of the brief filed by NNPA and NABOB. An agreement was reached January 9 between the U.S. Justice Department, the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund, and the four major tobacco manufacturers — Altria, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard and Philip Morris USA — on what “corrective statements” the tobacco industry should be forced to make in “corrective statements.” These ads would address the falsehoods the manufacturers have disseminated about the harmful effects of smoking, the addictiveness of smoking, the dangers of second-hand smoke, and claims that low-tar and light cigarettes are healthier than regular cigarettes. The Justice Department sued the tobacco companies in 1999, charging that they violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Judge Kessler found them guilty in 2006. Continue Reading →

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