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6 May, 2017 18:13

‘Propaganda machine’: Twitter blasts Liberation newspaper’s pro-Macron cover on eve of vote

‘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.”

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.

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.

Another user suggested that Liberation’s headline was democracy “according to the left.”

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.”

Another said: “France has no democracy any more. Media force us to vote for a candidate.”

“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.

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.

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.