Fake news, French law and democratic legitimacy: Lessons for the United Kingdom?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The United Kingdom is currently examining far-reaching regulatory proposals designed to address the online transmission of various forms of harmful content, including disinformation. Of particular interest for the UK, given concerns over the transmission of false information prior to the 2016 referendum on European Union membership, is French Law no. 2018-1202 on the ‘fight against the manipulation of information’. The French Law establishes a fast track civil procedure to tackle the transmission of false information in the run up to key elections and referenda; introduces measures to address foreign state funded broadcast propaganda; and seeks to enhance transparency for users on the way in which online content is financed and distributed. Restrictions on the transmission of information, particularly in the run up to elections, are inherently suspect and the Conseil constitutionnel carefully reviewed the French proposals to ensure that any restriction on freedom of expression was both justified and necessary. French Law 2018-1202 thus offers an example of a rather ‘muscular’ form of intervention in the election field, but one which seeks to preserve democratic legitimacy without undermining the individual freedoms on which it rests.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-81
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Media Law
Volume11
Issue number1
Early online date25 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • fake news
  • disinformation
  • freedom of expression
  • election law
  • Online Harms White Paper
  • French law

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