You might think that the United States is a pretty safe place to be a journalist. In nations such as China and Syria, independent journalists are often jailed and sometimes killed for doing their jobs. In the United States, such danger is not typical. But a recent report shows that the country is not a shining example of press freedom.
Reporters Without Borders, which monitors press freedom around the world, has been ranking at least 139 countries since 2002 on how well they protect journalists and allow them to do their jobs. The United States ranked 43rd of 180 nations this year. Two years ago its ranking was 49th, and in 2007 it was 48th. Only once in the past 15 years has the country ranked higher than 20th.
Why doesn’t the United States get top marks? The organization mentions several reasons. The Trump administration has blocked some journalists’ White House access. Reporters have been arrested while covering protests. The Obama administration pressured journalists to reveal sources of government “leaks,” or information that wasn’t intended to be made public. In 2013, government lawyers secretly took two months’ worth of phone records from Associated Press journalists. And the government has been slow or has sometimes refused to provide public information to reporters.
Image: USA Today College