The U.S. ranks 45th out of 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index, according to a Reporters without Borders study.
Why it matters: Press freedom experts cite President Trump's actions and threats — such as calling them "fake news" or an "enemy of the people, and witholding information like his tax returns — as contributing factors in the decline of press freedoms in the U.S. over the past two years.
- It's also helped to fuel a growing distrust of media. An Axios/SurveyMonkey poll recently found that 72% of American adults think that traditional news outlets knowingly report false or misleading stories at least sometimes.
On the bright side, the U.S. is still considered to be one of the better countries globally when it comes to press freedoms, with much of that having to do with the strong legal protections for journalists under the U.S. Constitution and an independent judiciary.
Around the world:
- European countries, like Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands and Switzerland, take the top five spots on the Press Freedom Index.
- Countries under oppressive regimes in North Africa, the Middle East and Asia, like North Korea, China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Somalia and Iran, are ranked the lowest.
- The U.S. ranking is similar to countries like the UK, Taiwan, South Korea, Romania, Italy, Botswana, and Senegal.