Did You Know?
Press freedom in the U.S. fluctuates
What makes a country free?
The open and unfettered flow of information that keeps a country’s people informed is one measure — and for this, journalists are essential. In recent years, press freedom in the U.S. has fallen as low as 48th in 2019, based on rankings of 190 countries and regions by Reporters Without Borders (also known as Reporters Sans Frontières, or RSF). After moving up to 42nd place in 2022, the U.S. fell three spots to 45th place in the 2023 index.
Through the World Press Freedom Index, RSF tracks how freely reporters are allowed to do their jobs, considering factors such as the number of abuses and acts of violence against journalists, the degree of self-censorship felt by journalists, and the independence of media outlets.
And threats against reporters continue, as Russia’s arrest and detainment of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich in March demonstrates.
While the U.S. ranking fell to its lowest in 2019 due in part to former President Donald Trump’s ongoing degradation of journalists, including his repeated declaration that the press is the “enemy of the people.” that hostility predates his administration. In April 2019 Sabine Dolan, RSF’s interim executive director, said on NPR: “Even before President Trump, the Obama administration was aggressively using the 1917 Espionage Act to prosecute more whistleblowers than any previous administration combined.”
The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, which documents press freedom violations at the national, state and local levels, tracks journalist arrests, assaults, border stops, camera and equipment seizures, surveillance orders, subpoenas and more. This initiative brings together more th. In recent years, press freedom in the U.S. has fallen as low as 48th in 2019, based on rankings of 190 countries and regions by Reporters Without Borders (also known as Reporters Sans Frontières, or RSF). But the nation has slowly reversed that trend, ranking 42nd in the 2022 index.an two dozen press freedom groups and journalism organizations to monitor assaults on press freedoms, and the statistics it collects are used in RSF’s annual report. As it states: “When journalists are obstructed, so is the public’s right to be informed and hold power to account.”
Which means less freedom for all.