French President Emmanuel Macron has announced plans for a news law to combat so-called ‘fake news’.
Speaking at a reception for the media, Macron said it was now possible to propagate untruths over social media at a cost of just a few thousand pounds
He said that during elections social media would face tougher rules over the content that they put online, as deliberate attempts were being made to blur lines between truth and lies.
Macron has already spoken out publicly about what he sees as Moscow’s attempts to manipulate opinion in Europe and the United States.
He said: “Thousands of propaganda accounts on social media networks are spreading all over the world, in all languages, lies invented to tarnish political officials, personalities, public figures, journalists.”
In proposing tougher rules on social media about revealing the sources of apparent news content, Macron added that limits would be put on how much could be spent on sponsored news material.
“We will develop our legal system to protect democracy from this fake news,” he said.
France’s audio-visual regulator would be given extra powers to “fight any destabilisation attempt by television channels controlled or influenced by foreign states”.
Macron denounced Russia media outlets RT and Sputnik at a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin last May, accusing them of spreading “deceitful propaganda”.
Since then RT has launched a French-language TV channel.