Paris: Confrontation between "blocs" is growing, as seen between India and Pakistan in the context of a propaganda war, according to the 2022 edition of the World Press Freedom Index compiled by the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

The 2022 edition of the Index, which assesses the state of journalism in 180 countries and territories, highlights the disastrous effects of news and information chaos, the effects of a globalised and unregulated online information space that encourages fake news and propaganda, the RSF said.

Within democratic societies, divisions are growing as a result of the spread of opinion media following the "Fox News model" and the spread of disinformation circuits that are amplified by the way social media functions.

At the international level, democracies are being weakened by the asymmetry between open societies and despotic regimes that control their media and online platforms while waging propaganda wars against democracies. Polarisation on these two levels is fuelling increased tension.

The invasion of Ukraine (106th) by Russia (155th) that began on February 24 reflects this process, as the physical conflict was preceded by a propaganda war. China (175th), one of the world's most repressive autocratic regimes, uses its legislative arsenal to confine its population and cut it off from the rest of the world, especially the population of Hong Kong (148th), which has plummeted in the Index.

Media polarisation is feeding and reinforcing internal social divisions in democratic societies such as the US (42nd), despite President Joe Biden's election.

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

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