French senate begins debate on legislation to counter fake news

French senate begins debate on legislation to counter fake news

Today the French Senate will begin debates on the controversial “fake news” law that has been circulating through the French

France fake news

Photo: LeMonde

Today the French Senate will begin debates on the controversial “fake news” law that has been circulating through the French legislative branch since June 7.

The current draft law would allow political candidates to sue news sources publishing contested reports during elections. It is a push to vet constantly for “veritable facts”, which critics argue would highlight an “official truth” and ultimately compromise freedom of speech. Meanwhile, major sharing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter will be legally obligated to display the sources from which sponsored media is coming.

French President Emmanuel Macron and his centrist La Republique En Marche party, which holds a legislative majority, has supported the bill in light of allegations of Russian interference during the 2017 presidential campaigns.

Expect representatives from moderate and far-reaching left and right parties to continue pushing back against the bill that is arguably more harmful to free speech than helpful to media output, especially during elections. If the bill passes, Macron will face potentially irreparable criticism as a president heading for totalitarianism.

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