Reporters Without Borders calls for regulation of online news

The World Press Freedom Index highlights the disastrous effects of news and information chaos – the effects of a globalized and unregulated online information space that encourages fake news and propaganda, Reporters Without Borders said when releasing the index on World Press Freedom Day. The report includes 180 countries and territories.

“Within democratic societies, divisions are growing due to the dissemination of opinion media following the ‘Fox News model’ (partisan information) and the dissemination of disinformation circuits amplified by the functioning of social networks.”

“Urgent decisions are needed in response to these issues, promoting a New Deal for journalism, as proposed by the Forum on Information and Democracy, and adopting an appropriate legal framework, with a system of protection of spaces democratic online information,” says RSF. general secretary Christophe Deloire.

The report says Norway, Denmark and Sweden continue to serve as democratic models where freedom of expression flourishes, while Moldova (40th) and Bulgaria (91st) stand out this year thanks to a change in government and the hope it brought to improve the situation of journalists even if the oligarchs still own or control the media.

The situation is described as “very bad” in a record number of 28 countries in this year’s Index, while 12 countries, including Belarus (153rd) and Russia (155th), appear on the Index’s red list (indicating “very poor” press freedom situations) on the map.

The 10 worst countries in the world for press freedom are Myanmar (176th), where the February 2021 coup set back press freedom by 10 years, as well as China, Turkmenistan (177th) , Iran (178th), Eritrea (179th) and North Korea (180th), indicates RSF.

“Internationally, democracies are weakened by the asymmetry between open societies and despotic regimes that control their media and online platforms while waging propaganda wars against democracies. Bias at these two levels fuels increased tension,” the report said.

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