France Takes on Fake News
Fake news is a growing concern in countries around the world, especially as leaders realize the impact that social media can have and the speed at which that type of media transmits. France is now taking strong steps to prevent the spread of fake news.
Françoise Nyssen, the French Minister of Culture, talked about proposed actions to combat fake news during a recent interview with Journal Du Dimanche.
While the specific details were not discussed, there were several points that Nyssen made. Firstly, freedom of the press is to be protected, so reputable journalists and news organizations need not be worried. Media platforms, though, will be held to exacting standards. If there is any content that is deemed to be sponsored by a foreign state or private organization, transparency is to be expected. Also, steps will be taken to quickly stop fake news once it's begun to be released. Nyseen did not shy away from mentioning that sanctions will be put in place if any media outlet, either a traditional or a purely online one, does not comply with the new laws.
These moves are likely a result of the increasing presence of Russian meddling in worldwide affairs, including French domestic politics. RT and Sputnik are Russian organizations that run websites in French, and they've both been thought to have disseminated fake news over the past year.
RT, formerly called Russia Today, is actually funded by the Russian government. It's media presence has been recently increasing, and it now has a French-language TV channel. Its critics feel that its popularity is being fueled by its focus on less than desirable media practices.
French President Emmanuel Macron is supportive of stronger efforts to combat fake news, especially after internal government documents were leaked during his campaign for presidency. During this incidence, nicknamed MacronLeaks, email accounts were hacked to gain access to protected information.
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