What will the world look like under tightened internet censorship and increased government regulation of "fake news?" Let's look to France as a warning.
Dejong Alban/ABACA/NewscomWhat will the world look like under tightened internet censorship and increased government regulation of "fake news?" Developments in France—where a regime that loudly calls for controls on online communications was recently caught manipulating news for its own ends—suggest that it will look a lot like every other society in history that suffered under self-serving authorities. That is, censorship continues to be about empowering those in charge.
Since taking office, French President Emmanuel Macron has made quite the name for himself as a scold and a censor, writes J.D. Tuccille. Complaining that Russian news outlets smeared him during his presidential campaign with false stories about offshore bank accounts and extramarital gay affairs, Macron vigorously called for new laws and government powers. He proposed requiring websites and social media accounts to disclose their sponsors and give regulators the power to shutter disapproved sources of information.
But France isn't alone in its efforts. Germany already has a censorship law in place that has resulted in the blocking of satirical publications, Australia is now threatening online publishers with prison time if they fail to remove forbidden content, and the U.K. is considering a comprehensive regime for controlling online content, to name just a few of these frightful efforts.
You can be certain, writes Tuccille, that all these laws will be enforced with an unhealthy dose of contempt for the common people and self-serving exceptions for the powerful.