September 19, 2021

Pegasus software: ‘The new global weapon to silence journalists’?

The + : Receive the France 24 Press Review every morning on your iPhone Or on any other mobile. And also always on your PC by becoming a fan on Facebook

On the front page of the press this Monday, July 19, the revelations of the investigation siteForbidden Storieson the practices of the Israeli computer company NSO Group, accused of spying on hundreds of opponents and journalists around the world.

From Mexico to India via Hungary and Morocco, Pegasus, the very powerful software of this company, which says to have been requested by governments to fight against terrorism, would have made it possible to siphon all the data contained in the phones of individuals targeted through loopholes in Apple and Google’s systems. Flaws exploited to the detriment, in particular, of nearly 180 journalists around the world, according to the investigation site, whose revelations are taken up by the international press, in particular by the French dailyThe world, who reports that several Moroccan journalists critical of power have been selected as ‘potential targets’, by this spyware, but also around thirty journalists and French media bosses, in editors as varied asThe world,The chained Duck,Le Figaro, theAFP,France Televisions,RFIandFrance 24, some of these journalists having, it seems, been targeted ‘only’, ‘for access to their address book’ – supposed to then give access, to the numbers of other targets, according toThe world.

Also on the front page of the press, the ever-increasing toll from the floods in Germany, where at least 160 people were killed in the disaster. During a trip on Sunday to Rhineland-Palatinate, in the southwest of the country, one of the regions most affected by the torrential rains, Angela Merkel spoke of a ‘surreal and ghostly’ landscape – words cited on the front page ofDaily mirror, who still seems stunned by the scale of the disaster. TheRheinische Post, he mentioned the Chancellor’s promise to release emergency aid of 300 million euros on Wednesday, but also to urge Germany to commit, in the long term, to ‘a policy that takes into account , more than in the past, of the nature and consequences of climate change ‘. A commitment whoseFrankfurter Allgemeine Zeitunghighlights the context: the campaign for the legislative elections of September 26, which will determine who will succeed Angela Merkel. A deadline that does not mean that the issue of climate change will be resolved, according to the newspaper, which warns that ‘the decarbonization of the German economy, desired by practically all parties, except the party far-right AfD, will take decades’.

In France, Emmanuel Macron has stepped up the fight against Covid-19, by extending the health pass and strengthening the vaccination campaign against Covid-19. This double announcement caused both a rush on vaccines and demonstrations on Saturday in several cities in France, protesters saying they fear a reduction in their rights and freedoms, some of them even denouncing a ‘health dictatorship ‘. This cleavage alarms the local newspaperFree noon, who wonders ‘how we got there’, how we got to this ‘violent fracture’ which seems to separate the pro and the anti-vaccine, those who oppose the extension of the health pass and those who favor it . ‘Is the movement against the vaccine and the health pass the natural extension of that of the yellow vests, born in the fall of 2019 and become the social stone in Emmanuel Macron’s shoes?’ According to the newspaper, the question ‘forces us to rethink citizen dialogue’. The government bill on the compulsory vaccination of caregivers and the extension of the health pass will be presented, in any case, from this Monday in the Council of Ministers.

Find the Press Review every morning on France 24 (Monday to Friday, at 7.20 am and 9.20 am Paris time). Also follow the Revue des Hebdos in multicast every weekend.