The United States has dropped slightly in a newly released press freedom index, thanks to the treatment of journalists covering the Occupy movement.
Freedom House issued its annual Freedom of the Press report on Tuesday.
Overall, the report was optimistic, saying that, for the first time in eight years, there had been no overall decline in freedom of the press. It cited dramatic expansions of press freedom in countries such as Libya and Tunisia. Finland, Norway and Sweden were tied atop the list, with North Korea coming in last.
Freedom House said that the arrests, detentions and beatings that some journalists faced during the height of the Occupy protests was responsible for a one-point drop in its standing:
The United States remains one of the stronger performers in the index, but it faces several challenges, including a threat to media diversity stemming from poor economic conditions for the news industry, and a lack of protection-of-sources legislation at the federal level. The overall score declined by one point due to detentions, rough police tactics, and other difficulties encountered by journalists while covering protests associated with the Occupy movement.
Freedom House placed the U.S. at 22, tied with Estonia and Jamaica with an 18 point score. (0 is the best on the scale.)
It's the second time this year that the U.S. has suffered in a press freedom index over Occupy. In January, Reporters Without Borders was much harsher towards the country, dropping it 27 places due to "the many arrests of journalist covering Occupy Wall Street protests."