French Parliament voted late Tuesday to pass a law cracking down on so-called “fake news,” allowing courts to rule whether reports published during election periods are credible or should be taken down.
The draft law, which ran into fierce criticism during a June 7 debate, will allow election candidates to sue for the removal of contested news reports during election periods, as well as forcing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to disclose the source of funding for sponsored content.
“I am delighted by Parliaments passing of a balanced and effective text that rises to the magnitude of the issue, a text that will be a precious tool for better protecting our democracy,” said Culture Minister Françoise Nyssen.
The new law will impose a quick-response judicial review of potentially “manipulative” information shared during electoral periods.
Members of Emmanuel Macrons centrist La République en Marche (LRM) party, who have an absolute majority in parliament, backed the bill along with a majority of MPs from the centrist Moderate Democrats.
Debate on the legislation lasted 8 hours. MP Constance Le Grip of the center-right Republicans decried the bill as “at best, inapplicable and thus useless, at worst, dangerous.” MP Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the far-left France Unbowed, stormed against “a circumstantial law made in order to ban Russia Today and Sputnik.”
The bill could still be challenged by Frances Constitutional Council over potential incursions on free speech.