French newspaper Le Monde announced it will not report on the contents of the leaks from French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron’s campaign staff until after the presidential election on May 7. Macron’s campaign stated it was hacked after “as much as 9 gigabytes of data” were published anonymously on the website Pastebin.
Why? Le Monde says it needs more time to verify and investigate the e-mails. Also, Le Monde pointed out that since the e-mails were released so close to the election, they were “clearly aimed at disrupting the current electoral process.”
The documents were leaked after the campaign period ended in France on May 5. From the end of the campaign to the May 7 vote, neither Macron nor his competitor Marine Le Pen are allowed to “express themselves.”
After the May 7 vote, Le Monde said it will publish, but only if newsworthy. “Firstly, because the volume of pirated documents – fifteen gigabytes of files – makes their analysis, cross-checks and checks that are necessary in any journalistic work, impossible to conduct within this time,” Le Monde stated. “Also, and most importantly, because these files were knowingly published 48 hours before the vote, with the obvious purpose of damaging the sincerity of the ballot, at a time when the main interested parties have the legal prohibition to answer any accusations.”
Le Monde said it will report on the documents if they “contain revelations” but not until Le Monde has “investigated, in accordance with our journalistic and ethical rules.”
“France’s electoral commission warned media and internet users that they could face criminal prosecution for publishing” the hacked e-mails, The Guardian noted.
iMediaEthics has written to Le Monde to ask if the electoral commission’s warning played into its decision.
— CNCCEP (@cnccep) May 5, 2017
While Le Monde isn’t publishing the e-mails for now, other media outlets in France like Liberation have, Reuters noted. “French media covered the hack in various ways, with left-leading Liberation giving it prominence on its website but television news channels opting not to mention it,” according to Reuters.
Le Figaro published a brief note on its website saying it “respects the reserve period” currently ongoing between the close of the campaign and the May 7 vote. “At the end, if it turns out that the pirated documents contain elements to bring to our readers’ knowledge, we will obviously, after journalistic investigation, account for them in our columns and on our site.”