Report shows online media fueling global tensions
According to Reporters without Borders, democratic societies are being influenced by disinformation on social media.
Unregulated internet material has propagated disinformation and propaganda, exacerbating political differences throughout the world, escalating international tensions, and even contributing to the ongoing situation in Ukraine, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
The media watchdog said Tuesday that social media propagating disinformation and more opinion media adopting a so-called "Fox News model," alluding to the notorious right-wing television network in the United States, are further fracturing democratic democracies.
Coincidingly, more autocratic governments that closely control information in their society use their "asymmetric" position to fight "propaganda wars" against democracies and foster divides within them, according to the World Press Freedom Index 2022.
In a five-page summary, RSF stated that "polarization on these two levels is fueling increased tension."
According to RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire, "Fox News-isation" of Western media presents a "fatal danger for democracies because it undermines the basis of civil harmony and tolerant public debate."
Deloire encouraged governments to implement proper legislative frameworks to safeguard online information spaces.
According to the NGO, media polarization was feeding and reinforcing internal social divisions in democratic societies." like the US, which ranked 42nd in freedom of the press.
RSF stated that Poland, which ranked 66th, shared a similar trend, with many transgressions recorded against independent media.
Earlier, a survey revealed that more than half of respondents in four former communist Eastern European countries, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, think media freedom is threatened.
The findings, based on responses from respondents in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, are presented in what is billed as the largest opinion poll on the subject performed in the "Visegrád countries". They will be included in the European Commission's consultation process for a press freedom statute that is currently being drafted.
In what organizers hope will be a wake-up call, 52% expressed concern about media freedom, with the highest figure, 63%, recorded in Poland, whose rightwing nationalist Law and Justice party (PiS) government is accused of aggressively targeting independent media with costly lawsuits while meddling in public broadcasting.
Across the four nations, 71% favored government protection measures, while 59% supported giving the EU broader powers to protect media liberties.