The report titled Information Manipulation: a Challenge for Our Democracies prepared by two government-linked think tanks – the French Foreign Ministry’s Center for Analysis, Planning and Strategy (CAPS) and the Defense Ministry’s Institute for Strategic Studies (IRSEM) – saw light on Sept.4. The paper urges the French government to “name and isolate” outlets that act as “foreign propaganda organs.” It suggests that journalists of Russian RT and Sputnik news outlets should not be accredited or invited to press conferences. “It’s important never to grant [these organizations] accreditation rather than to invite them to press conferences for journalists,” the document states.
Moscow is the prime target of the efforts to curb freedom of speech. The 200-page long report mentions Russia 60 times, the word Kremlin is used 48 times, Sputnik is referred to 14 times and RT is also not forgotten with the abbreviation repeated 10 times. The authors say they express personal opinions but it’s hard to believe it as they work for the government.
The French administration has demonstrated its hostile attitude toward the Russian outlets a number of times. Last year, President Emmanuel Macron accused them of having spoken “mistruths” about him and his campaign behaving not as “media outlets and journalists” but as “organs of influence, propaganda, and false propaganda.” That’s what he affirms though not a single example of spreading misinformation by the Russian media outlets has ever been provided.
The activities of Russian journalists in France are often obstructed. It’s not unusual for them to become victims of harassment. For instance, when RT France channel started to broadcast last December, 11 French public figures called on the county’s broadcasting watchdog Conseil superieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA) to recall its license.
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