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Limit to the impact of fake news

Europe
03.01.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Macron pledges law to shield election campaigns from 'false news'
French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday his government planned to bring forward a law to help limit the impact of fake news on future election campaigns.
GALLERY
Paris (dpa) - Macron told journalists gathered for a New Year‘s message in the Elysee Palace that their profession was threatened by "the eruption into the media of false news ... and the media that propagate it."

Under the new law, Macron said, cases of spreading false news during election campaigns could be referred to a judge, and possible sanctions for offenders would include deleting content, de-listing or blocking sites, or closing accounts.">
The term "fake news" has been popularized by US President Donald Trump, who has used it to attack news reports he disagrees with.

Under the new law, Macron said, cases of spreading false news during election campaigns could be referred to a judge, and possible sanctions for offenders would include deleting content, de-listing or blocking sites, or closing accounts.

The announcement comes amid widespread concern in Western Europe about the alleged role of Russian-owned media and Russian-backed social media accounts in backing populist forces during elections.

The term "fake news" has been popularized by US President Donald Trump, who has used it to attack news reports he disagrees with.
Under the new law, Macron said, cases of spreading false news during election campaigns could be referred to a judge, and possible sanctions for offenders would include deleting content, de-listing or blocking sites, or closing accounts. Internet platforms would be obliged to publish the names of advertisers of sponsored content and to limit the amounts spent on such content.

Macron said the national television regulator would also have increased powers to deal with "any attempt at destabilization by television services controlled or influenced by foreign countries." The liberal, pro-EU French president has previously criticized Russian-owned media Sputnik and RT as organs of propaganda - charges they deny.

During last year‘s election race between Macron and right-wing populist Marine Le Pen, then-foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Macron‘s campaign had been the victim of hacker attacks coming from Russia.

Macron said Wednesday that fake news was "a strategy, a funded strategy, intended ... to bring about the belief that everything politicians and the media says is more or less always a lie." The effect, Macron said, was "to sap confidence in the democratic game." "We know that it works, we have seen it in practice," he said. "Abroad, but also in France." "If we want to protect our liberal democracies, we must be strong and we must have clear rules," Macron said.

The French president promised that the law would be drafted in consultation with press groups. "None of the freedoms of the press must be called into question by this text," Macron said.

Le Pen called Macron‘s proposal "very worrying." "Control of free speech on the internet, further judicialization of society: Is France still a democracy if it muzzles its citizens?" she wrote on Twitter.

 

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