The Strategist

France sets to fight against fake news


02/15/2018 - 13:32



Minister of Culture of France Françoise Nyssen said on Tuesday that a bill to combat the spread of fake news in the media and social networks "is almost ready." The paper will be submitted in the coming days, but its main points are already known. Among other things, the French authorities intend to punish fake newsmakers by depriving them of their accreditation.



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France is preparing for a massive reform of media legislation: the country is developing a mechanism to combat the spread of fake news. On Tuesday, the Minister of Culture of the country, Françoise Nyssen, said that the text of the new bill is almost ready and disclosed its main points.

The bill will be operating during election campaigns, but not more than five weeks before the voting day. It contains three main points. The first of these concerns multimedia. In particular, it will allow the Superior Council of the Audiovisual to revoke licenses for broadcasting from foreign media or media "controlled by foreign states" if the independent body recognizes that the media intentionally disseminated false information.

The second provision of the bill affects digital platforms, such as Facebook or YouTube. During the election period, they will be required to indicate who paid for the "sponsored" information and how much. Finally, the third, the main point of the new bill, authorizes the executive bodies to react quickly to the appearance of disinformation. In particular, according to the Minister of Culture of France, citizens will be able to send to the court references to materials that, in their opinion, are fake news. The judge will decide whether the information is in fact false and if it must be deleted.

According to Mrs. Nyssen, the French authorities relied on the experience of their British and German colleagues and took into account all the shortcomings of the draft laws that they had developed. The text of the French bill to combat fake news will be a stage of discussion among media professionals and regulators in the coming months. In late April - early May, it should be submitted to the National Assembly for consideration.

Earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron also faced the problem of fake news during his election campaign. His ambiguous lifestyle gave many reasons for fake news. During his address to the press on January 3, Macron said that he would submit a draft law to combat false news on the Internet during the electoral period before the end of the year.

The alleged law has already been criticized as a source of censorship. In addition, this law does not provide for measures against the distribution of fake news in non-political areas. According to the surveys of the Reuters Institute, most often French fake news affects the health themes. Created in Morocco, Santéplusmag's Facebook page has 7.4 million subscribers. Its creators publish absolutely fantastic advice: "Put your feet in the vinegar, and 9 problems will disappear," "Half a glass of this liquid dissolve kidney stones daily," and the like. Such sources oppose vaccination of children and give other dangerous advice, but the French government does not deal with this problem, unless "false information from the health sector is published during the electoral period".

The spread of fake news causes concern at the highest level in Europe. The European Commission is preparing a road map to deal with this issue, and some expert services have already been created. NATO's executive structure was allocated a budget of 1.1 million euros to fight "this poison." As the elections approach, governments are issuing relevant laws. Even Pope Francis likened the fake news to the serpent tempter and added: "The tragedy of disinformation is the discrediting of another, its representation as an enemy, a demonization that can cause conflicts."

source: lefigaro.fr