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Lavrov interested in evolution of French initiative on combating fake news

The Russian top diplomat pointed out, however, that the initiative lacked objectivity
French President Emmanuel Macron AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein
French President Emmanuel Macron
© AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

MOSCOW, January 15. /TASS/. It would be interesting to see the evolution of the French initiative on combating fake news, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at his annual news conference on Monday.

When commenting on the French initiative to impose new restrictions on Russian media outlets active abroad in order to combat the spread of fake news, Lavrov said that "it would be interesting to see what form this initiative takes."

"The initiative, as outlined by French President Emmanuel Macron, concerns all sources of the so-called fake news. A thing to note is that news will be designated as fake without any exchange of arguments or a probe," he added.

The Russian top diplomat pointed out that the initiative lacked objectivity. "As many have noted, no adversarial principle is planned to be used to figure out if news is fake. It has been announced that liberal democracies know very well how to do it," Lavrov said. "Countries have been divided into three groups - liberal democracies, non-liberal democracies and authoritarian states," he noted.

Macron’s initiative

While addressing the Presidential Press Association on January 3, French President Emmanuel Macron emphasized the need to draw up and adopt a national law on combating the spread of fake news on the Internet.

The initiative particularly stipulates that online platforms will be obliged to ensure a high level of transparency concerning their sponsored content in order to make its sources public and provide information as to who controls the sources, which will make it possible to limit investment in such content.

In case fake news is spread, it will be possible to file a complaint to a court and have false information removed, the status of the website which published it changed and access to certain Internet resources closed. The French president also said that the powers of the country’s Superior Council of the Audiovisual (CSA) will be expanded in order to ensure its ability to prevent TV channels controlled or influenced by foreign countries from destabilizing the situation.