Uruguay, Namibia, Samoa, Ghana, and South Africa all offer a greater "level of freedom of information" than the United States, according to Reporters Without Borders' 2016 World Press Freedom Index, released today. The U.S. is ranked at 41 out of 180 countries in the survey.
RSF says the U.S. moved from 49th place in 2015 up to 41 this year, but "relative improvement by comparison hides overall negative trends." In other words, we're still screwed on press freedom, and the future doesn't look great.
From NPR's Laura Wagner, on The Two-Way:
Citing the U.S. government's "war on whistleblowers who leak information about its surveillance activities, spying and foreign operations, especially those linked to counter-terrorism," and the country's lack of a "shield law" that would allow journalists to protect confidential sources, the report takes a decidedly negative view of U.S. press freedom.
Some of the policies condemned in the report come from President Obama's administration, as NPR's Sam Sanders has reported:
"[Obama's] Justice Department has cracked down on reporters in an effort to prevent leaks; it also set a new record for withholding access to government files under the Freedom of Information Act (despite calling for a "new era of openness" on his first day in office); and photojournalists in 2013 from several major news organizations chastised the Obama administration for denying their 'right to photograph or videotape the President while he is performing his official duties,' instead relying on official photos shot by White House photographers."