Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Macron warns against fake news ahead of French election Nation World News

PARIS ( Associated Press) – French President Emmanuel Macron has said those spreading fake news online should be held accountable and possibly brought to justice, an issue that will continue to escalate ahead of the country’s presidential election in April. is becoming more important.

In a speech in Paris on Tuesday, Macron warned of the dangers to democracy from online misinformation and fake news. He suggested that the new laws should hold Internet platforms, influencers and online attention-getters accountable in France, as are journalists.

“It should be the same for foreign media, which are authorized to broadcast news in French territory,” he said.

An 1881 law established freedom of the press in France, introducing rules against defamation and hate speech.

Macron also warned that Western democracies are currently “not strong enough to withstand propaganda actors financed by foreign authoritarian regimes who do not adhere to accountability procedures and journalistic ethics.”

“We must also know how to protect ourselves from foreign interference,” he said.

In 2017, a hack and a massive document leak hit the presidential election campaign just two days before Macron’s victory. The use of bots raised questions about the involvement of groups affiliated with Russia. Moscow denied any involvement.

Macron’s speech comes after he received a report in October on the possible consequences of fake news, including a riot at the US Capitol on January 6 last year.,

The report, released Tuesday, ranges from questioning what children see on social media to better shielding elections from foreign interference and sanctioning those who disrupt public order by spreading fake news. A variety of recommendations have been made.

Gerald Broner, the committee’s lead sociologist in charge of the report, said any move must be balanced with the need to preserve freedom of expression.

“Our recommendations are therefore not meant to address any news-related problems,” he said. “But (they mean it) to sanction illegal practices, to prevent malicious behaviour, to limit the spread of material harmful to democratic life.”

Social science researcher Laurent Cordonier, a member of the committee, said “small numbers of fake, misleading news can have dire consequences” and can radicalize some groups.

“That’s what we saw, for example, with the events at the Capitol in the United States,” he said.

The French government last year created an agency to combat foreign propaganda and fake news.

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