The Index, published Feb. 11, shows that America now ranks number 46, below countries like South Africa and France. The Index has been published annually since 2002, but the 2014 ranking for America marks one of the most significant declines ever reported.
According to Christophe Deloire, the Reporters Without Borders Secretary General, the World Freedom Index is based on seven criteria: the level of abuses, the extent of pluralism, media independence, the environment and self-censorship, the legislative framework, transparency and infrastructure.
Investigative journalist James Risen believes the Index rightly shows the drop in American journalists’ freedoms due to crackdowns on reporters and whistleblowers and the efforts of the Obama administration and the National Security Agency to limit the amount of information America has concerning the “War on Terror” and other subjects.
“I think 2013 will go down in history as the worst year for press freedom in the United States modern history,” James Risen said.