The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, has come under fire after forming a committee against online speech that critics are already calling the “thought police.” According to Macron, he considers “conspiracy theories” a “poison” to society.
Macron claimed in an interview that conspiracy theories are a “key problem” for France and that he’s fighting against the idea that “all views are equal, that those of someone who is not a specialist but who has an opinion on the coronavirus are just as valid as those of a scientist.”
However, some have blasted the president for trying to impose an official narrative to secure a second presidency against conservative populists such Marine Le Pen.
François Bernard Huyghe, a political scientist at the Institute of Strategic and International Affairs in Paris, has criticized the president’s commission.
“I don’t think that multiplying laws, censoring social media accounts or treating people as cretins is the solution. It provokes the opposite effect to the one desired and the feeling that something is being hidden,” Huyghe stated in The Times.
Members of the committee will include 15 academics, as well as journalists, teachers and lawyers. Mr Macron asked them to submit a report on these topics, along with algorithms that are “enslaving the public.”
However, the chair of the commission, Gerald Bronner has denied all claims in involvement with the effect of the “thought police”, stating that “There is no question of censorship but of strengthening the space for common debates that are increasingly threatened by a succession of opinions.”