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French President Macron Says Foreign Powers Are Causes For Disinformation; Report Names Russia, Turkey, Iran And China

January 17th, 2022 14:37

Euro­pean media report­ed ear­li­er this month that French Pres­i­dent Emmanuel Macron iden­ti­fied for­eign “pro­pa­gan­da” media and online plat­forms as the main dri­vers behind the spread of dis­in­for­ma­tion in France. Accord­ing to a Politi­co report:

Jan­u­ary 11, 2021 PARIS — French Pres­i­dent Emmanuel Macron says online plat­forms and for­eign “pro­pa­gan­da” media are the main dri­vers behind the spread of dis­in­for­ma­tion in the coun­try — and he wants to rein them in.  “Online plat­forms, influ­encers, and also cit­i­zens who some­times take a con­sid­er­able place in the pub­lic debate pre­cise­ly through these new plat­forms … must have a frame­work of respon­si­bil­i­ty that is yet to be built,” he said Tues­day dur­ing the annu­al new year speech before the coun­try’s press corps.   “The same must apply to for­eign media autho­rized to broad­cast on French soil,” the pres­i­dent added, in a clear allu­sion to Russ­ian out­lets such as Sput­nik and RT.

Read the rest here.

The Politi­co report notes that Macron’s remarks built on the con­clu­sions of a gov­ern­ment-com­mis­sioned study that pitch­es guide­lines to fight against dis­in­for­ma­tion and con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries online. One chap­ter of the study, titled “Les Lumières à l’ère numérique” (Enlight­en­ment in the Dig­i­tal Age), high­lights the dan­gers of online infor­ma­tion oper­a­tions con­duct­ed by coun­tries such as Rus­sia, Turkey, Iran, and Chi­na. Accord­ing to the study:

Jan­u­ary 2022 In less than two decades, the dig­i­tal space has become a priv­i­leged field of con­fronta­tion and strate­gic com­pe­ti­tion between states and a new mil­i­tary domain for France and oth­er coun­tries. The arse­nal of dig­i­tal com­bat­ants now includes infor­ma­tion oper­a­tions. Infor­ma­tion wars are cer­tain­ly not new and are even inher­ent in mil­i­tary strat­e­gy, whether it involves con­vinc­ing pub­lic opin­ion of the legit­i­ma­cy of a fight, coun­ter­ing the influ­ence of adver­sary or use trick­ery to deceive the ene­my in order to obtain a tac­ti­cal advan­tage. But their trans­po­si­tion into the dig­i­tal world pos­es unprece­dent­ed prob­lems that dis­rupt demo­c­ra­t­ic life. This is evi­denced by the can­cel­la­tion of the pos­si­bil­i­ty of elec­tron­ic vot­ing for French nation­als liv­ing abroad in the 2017 pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, due to Russ­ian inter­fer­ence oper­a­tions in the Amer­i­can elec­toral cam­paign of 2016. The rea­sons for these dis­tur­bances and the dif­fi­cul­ties in cop­ing with them are mul­ti­ple. On the one hand, the evo­lu­tion of the glob­al geopo­lit­i­cal con­text leads to a log­ic of per­ma­nent con­fronta­tion that char­ac­ter­izes con­flict in the dig­i­tal age. This log­ic leads to the emer­gence of increas­ing­ly hybrid threats that involve a wide vari­ety of actors and oper­at­ing meth­ods and com­pli­cate their under­stand­ing, detec­tion and pre­ven­tion. On the oth­er hand, the dig­i­tal space is inher­ent­ly dual and ultra-dynam­ic. This results in sig­nif­i­cant inter­ac­tions between the civil­ian, eco­nom­ic and mil­i­tary worlds that blur the notions of interior/exterior the­ater and pro­duce effects that in turn fuel the threat. Final­ly, these infor­ma­tion­al maneu­vers have become inter­na­tion­al­ized over the past two years with the hard­en­ing of the strate­gic con­text and the rise of geopo­lit­i­cal ten­sions linked to the health cri­sis. Pub­li­ca­tions and pub­lic state­ments have point­ed to influ­ence oper­a­tions by Rus­sia, Turkey, Iran and even China.

[Trans­lat­ed from French with Google Trans­late, minor edits]

Read the full report here.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) has exten­sive­ly cov­ered for­eign influ­ence oper­a­tions tar­get­ing France. In Novem­ber, we report­ed that France cre­at­ed an office to counter for­eign media manip­u­la­tion called Vig­iNum, which has been allo­cat­ed an annu­al bud­get of 12 mil­lion Euros.