French media warned to avoid publishing Macron leaks – The Hill

French officials are warning media in the country that publishing documents obtained during a large-scale hacking operation that targeted presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron could result in federal prosecution.

The warning to media outlets and internet users came from France’s electoral commission, which held an emergency meeting to discuss the leak on Saturday, The Guardian reported.

The commission said that some documents released in the leak appeared to have “false information.”

“This attack has resulted in the publication of a number of important documents presented as having come from the information system of the candidate and the message accounts of certain of their campaign officials on certain social networks,” the CNCCEP, France’s presidential electoral authority, said in a statement reported by The Guardian.

“The commission stresses that the dissemination or republication of such information, fraudulently obtained and which may, in all likelihood, have been mixed with false information, is liable to be classified as criminal in several respects for which its authors will be held responsible.”

Thousands of internal documents from Macron’s “En Marche!” political movement were published on the internet shortly before the deadline for the start of a campaign blackout on Friday.

The last-minute release meant that neither Macron, a center-left candidate who is a favorite in polls to win, nor his far-right opponent Marine Le Pen, had time to respond to the leaks.

Macron’s campaign confirmed on Friday it had been a “victim of a massive and coordinated hack,” adding that the attack “has given rise to the diffusion on social media of various internal information.”

France’s electoral commission maintained Saturday that media and internet users should “show a spirit of responsibility” by not relaying the contents of the obtained documents before the election.

“On the eve of the most important electoral deadline for our institutions, we call on all actors present on websites and social networks, first and foremost the media, but also all citizens, to show a spirit of responsibility and not relay the contents of these documents in order not to alter the integrity of the vote, not to break the bans laid down by the law and not to expose themselves to the committing of criminal offenses,” the CNCCEP said.

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