The organisers of next year’s Olympic Games have called for vigilance after French security services said they had uncovered a disinformation campaign emanating from Azerbaijan that aimed to undermine the French capital’s capacity to hold the event.
The campaign, which included pictures and a video showing clashes between French police and protesters that were seen by millions of people, ran with the slogan #boycottparis2024 following riots in Paris at the end of June, according to VIGINUM, the watchdog that monitors foreign digital interference.
“Between now and the Games, Paris 2024 will continue to monitor, in conjunction with the relevant authorities, the veracity of information circulating about the event and its organisation,” Paris 2024 said in a statement on Tuesday.
It said the media, opinion leaders and the public should check the authenticity of information on social networks with official sources before passing it on.
VIGINUM said it had been unable to link the campaign directly to Azerbaijani authorities.
Neither the Azeri government nor the president’s office were available for comment. The Azeri embassy in Paris did not respond to a request for comment.
Ties between Paris and Baku have been strained in recent months and have worsened since Baku took control of the Nagorno-Karabah region.
Paris 2024 said it was not the first time such campaigns had been aimed at the Games.
In summer 2022, a video from New York Insider linking the June riots to the organisation of Paris 2024 went viral, it said.