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French press review 4 January 2018

Today's French papers look the protests that have hit Iran and President Emmanuel Macron's plan to fight fake news.

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Libération looks at Iran and the protests taking place in the country..

"Despite [US President] Donald Trump's crude words, calling Iran's government brutal, they are resonating with protesters in the country," says Libé in an editorial. "These people are brave and they are right to protest against corruption and the state of the economy."

The left-wing daily argues that people are really protesting against the country's theocratic powers and the amount of money devoted to religion. Of course, the Iranian state has largely cracked down on the protests and the Revolutionary Guards announced last night that the "sedition" ended.

But Libération wants to believe this won't be all for nothing.

"It is at times like this that diplomatic action must help these processes by assuring people the rest of the world hears [the protesters'] voices," says Libération.

Nuclear deal

Le Monde is also headlining on Iran and in an editorial, the centre-left paper explains why Western countries are uncomfortable with what is happening in the country.

"The nuclear agreement is one of the indirect sources of those protests and could be one of its victims," says Le Monde.

And the Western world is particularly divided on Iran. On one side, you have, of course, Trump, who appears not to know the meaning of the word "cautious".

Trump, explains the paper, has been overtly hostile to Iran and has used the country as a whipping boy more than once.

Meanwhile, "Europeans have so far only talked about defending freedom of speech and protest," it says, "because they want to preserve the nuclear agreement."

What about France then? Well Le Monde seems to be happy with Emmanuel Macron's cautious approach. The president has talked to his Iranian counterpart while insisting on trying to appease the situation.

"Good call!" says the daily.

What is fake news?

Meanwhile, Le Figaro devotes its front page to how much tax French people will pay in 2018. Spoiler alert: it's always going to be too much for the conservative newspaper.

But who cares about that, when the paper has an interesting article on Macron's plan to combat fake news?

During a press conference yesterday the French president announced his intention to create a new law that would tackle the problem.

One goal of the new rules, will be to block fake news online.

"It will be possible to delete the content, to close the user account and even block the website," explains Le Figaro.

But, says the daily, finding a precise definition of fake news isn't always easy. One example: RT, a Russian state-owned news channel that has just launched a French version. Most of their coverage is pro-Kremlin but it is not often false.

This is why Macron wants the press to take time to think about what this means, explains Le Figaro.

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