World Bulletin / News Desk
President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday he would propose a new law to tackle the spread of "fake news" on the internet during pre-election campaigns.
Macron said the bill, whose contents would be revealed "in the coming weeks" and brought in before the end of 2018, will deeply change the role of French media watchdog CSA.
"I have decided that we will change our legal system to protect democratic life from this fake news," the president told journalists during his annual New Year's address to media representatives at the Elysee.
Macron said the new law would boost more transparency as websites would have to reveal their financing and the amount of money for sponsored content.
"During the election period, on the internet, content will no longer have exactly the same rules," he added.
In case of fake news, authorities could suppress the concerned content or even close the website under an emergency legal action.
Macron said the bill would target social media platforms, especially during election periods, and would not pose a threat to freedom of the press.
"The freedom of the press is not a special freedom; it is the highest expression of freedom," said Macron. "If we want to protect liberal democracies, we have to be strong and have clear rules."
During the last French presidential election campaign, Macron's campaign was the target of massive cyber-hacks. His team pointed fingers at Russian hackers and even refused accreditation to the Russian state-funded Sputnik and RT news outlets, which it said were spreading Russian propaganda and fake news.
And just two days before the decisive May 7 election runoff, Macron's campaign said it was the victim of an anonymous massive hack as thousands of emails and electronic documents, mixed with false ones, were released online.
Analysts said the source could have come from a group tied to Russian military intelligence. However, Moscow repeatedly rejected the allegations.
The United Nations' International Labour Organization rarely creates this type of probe, known as a Commission of Inquiry. The last case was launched against Zimbabwe in 2008.
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