‘Propaganda machine’: Twitter blasts Liberation newspaper’s pro-Macron cover on eve of vote
France’s ‘Liberation’ newspaper has called on voters to cast their ballots for Emmanuel Macron on the cover of its pre-election day edition. The move has been criticized on social media, with some users blasting the decision a sign of 'no more democracy'.
The cover of the paper’s weekend edition, which comes just as the pre-election ban on reporting came into effect on midnight Saturday, reads: “Do what you want but vote for Macron.”
The paper has been denounced by critics who have labelled it “a propaganda machine.”
France’s presidential election commission had issued a reminder to media outlets to refrain from any commentary liable to affect the presidential race, saying “candidates, media or citizens are prohibited from distributing any propaganda material concerning the elections.”
Il est minuit : toute (re)diffusion de propagande #Presidentielle2017 est prohibée pour les candidats, la presse, les citoyens pic.twitter.com/HA4s3Qi91W— CNCCEP (@cnccep) 5 мая 2017 г.
On the eve of the second round of election, however, the pro-Macron message was published along with a picture of the centrist politician on the cover of the paper.
Liberation shared a preview of the cover for the upcoming paper edition on Friday evening.
A la une de @libe ce week-end https://t.co/XDzLhnZsrwpic.twitter.com/yVpAMWIB5Y— Libération (@libe) 5 мая 2017 г.
The pro-Macron headline didn’t go unnoticed on social media. People took to Twitter to lament what they perceived as a sign of a loss of democracy in the country.
“You said freedom of expression?” asked one person, ironically.
@Penelope129974 Le même journal qui titre "faites ce que vous voulez mais votez Macron". Vous avez dit liberté d'expression ?— Vincent Delouche (@VincentDelouche) 6 мая 2017 г.
Another user suggested that Liberation’s headline was democracy “according to the left.”
La démocratie selon la gauche : "Faites ce que vous voulez mais votez Macron..."#GaucheTaréepic.twitter.com/VIklu1wzyR— Pont d'Arcole ن 🇫🇷 (@PtdArcole) 6 мая 2017 г.
Others accused the paper of not being objective, saying: “It’s a shame for media to give their opinion. We are smart to choose without you.”
@libe@mathieujohann Honteux que des médias donnent leur avis. Nous sommes intelligent pour choisir sans vous— Cèdre (@CedricDemange) 6 мая 2017 г.
Another said: “France has no democracy any more. Media force us to vote for a candidate.”
@libe La france n est plus une démocratie. Les medias nous force à voter pour un candidat .les francais sont libre et grands pour choisir— hamelin j-f (@chantaljfh16100) 6 мая 2017 г.
“Are you going to delete this tweet … or are you going to override the law?” asked one person in a direct question to the paper.
@libe QUESTION : Vous allez faire comment ? Vous allez supprimer ce tweet et cette une ce soir à minuit ou vous outrepasserez la loi ? 😊— Lorenzo🔻 φ (@LCensur) 5 мая 2017 г.
It’s not the first time that Liberation has published a provocative political headline ahead of a voting. On April 22, the day before the first round of the French presidential election, the paper’s front cover featured the Republican presidential candidate Francois Fillon and the National Front leader Marine le Pen with the accompanying “anyone but them” headline.
Voila une Une pour se faire plaisir qui devrait bien finir de convaincre ceux qui pensent contre ! 🎉 pic.twitter.com/eCmEMuBCvW— maitena biraben (@MaitenaBiraben) April 22, 2017
The ban on pre-election reporting was nearly disrupted after documents and emails relating to Macron’s campaign leaked online Friday. The presidential election commission urged the media to be cautious before publishing the details.
“[The commission] asks media, and in particular [news] websites, not to report on the content of this data,” the commission said.
They also warned that distribution “of false information” may lead to criminal charges.