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Macron pledges law to shield election campaigns from 'false news'

Europe
03.01.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Paris (dpa) - French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday his government would draft a law to help limit the impact of fake news on future election campaigns.

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."

The announcement comes amid widespread concern in Western Europe about the role of Russian-owned media and Russian-backed social media accounts in allegedly 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.

Possible sanctions for offenders would include deleting content, delisting or blocking sites, or closing accounts.

Macron, who has previously criticized Russian-owned media Sputnik and RT as organs of propaganda, 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 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.

 

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