UK drops to 40th place in global Press Freedom Index
State surveillance measures leave media freedom under threat, says Reporters Without Borders
Journalists in the UK are now less free to hold people in positions of power to account than their peers in South Africa, Chile or Lithuania, according to the latest Press Freedom Index.
Britain came 40th in the world in the latest rankings, which is published annually by free speech group Reporters Without Borders. It has dropped 12 places in the past five years.
This year's fall came after the government passed what Reporters Without Borders described as a series of "menacing measures", legalising some forms of state surveillance and proposing to criminalise journalists and whistleblowers as spies.
It said: "The rate at which democracies are approaching the tipping point is alarming for all those who understand that if media freedom is not secure, then none of the other freedoms can be guaranteed."
Nordic countries topped the list, with Norway ranked first, followed by Sweden and Finland. The US came in not far below the UK, taking 43rd place.
At the other end of the spectrum, Eritrea, which had been last in the list since 2007, went up one spot after allowing foreign media crews into the country, The Guardian reports.
North Korea, where merely listening to foreign media broadcasts can lead to sanctions, now takes the bottom place.