By Mitchell Sanders
The French parliament is set to debate a bill on Thursday designed to regulate campaign-related misinformation.
If passed into law, the billwould allow French authorities to bar the publication of any information they deem false in the run-up to elections. Additionally, the bill would
allow the state to yank foreign broadcasters off the air if they are judged as attempting to destabilize France. It would also compel social media
networks to introduce measures that would allow users to flag content for official government review
The bill has sparked fears of censorship; critics assert it could be used by authorities to block unflattering or compromising stories. Legal expert Vincent Couronne insists that the law is “not only imperfect and unnecessary but also dangerous for the peace and diversity of public debate.”
Other experts agree, saying that the bill is a step towards censorship and insisting that the bill will turn judges into arbiters of true and false.
French politician Marine Le Pen questions, “Is France still a democracy if it muzzles its citizens?”
Under the bill, judges would have only forty-eight hours to make their decision.