France’s parliament is debating a law that would give the state the power to censor “fake news”. If the law is passed, the French state will have the powers to ban, through a court order, the publication of any news considered false in run-up period before elections.
French MPs are sharply divided over this proposed law, and French media squarely oppose it. But it has a powerful supporter: President Emmanuel Macron. He has spoken out publicly against the toxic influence of “fake news” (the English term is used in France). During the presidential election campaign last year, Macron was angered by attacks that targeted him personally, notably stories alleging offshore bank accounts. He also accused Russia of spreading “deceitful propaganda” through the Kremlin-controlled Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik sites. Macron believes a law is needed to “protect our democracy from these false stories”. Macron believes a law is needed to “protect our democracy from these false stories”.