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Free Press and Donald Trump: These Are All the Countries That Have More Freedom Than the U.S.

President Donald Trump lashed out Thursday at an initiative spearheaded by The Boston Globe to coordinate the publication of editorials defending the freedom of the press and reminding the president that "journalists are not the enemy."

Around 350 newspapers from across the country supported the Globe's efforts and released op-eds decrying the president's attacks on the media. Hours later, Trump responded to the editorials via Twitter. 

"The Boston Globe, which was sold to the the [sic] Failing New York Times for 1.3 BILLION DOLLARS (plus 800 million dollars in losses & investment), or 2.1 BILLION DOLLARS, was then sold by the Times for 1 DOLLAR. Now the Globe is in COLLUSION with other papers on free press. PROVE IT!" the president tweeted Thursday morning.

"There is nothing that I would want more for our Country than true FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. The fact is that the Press is FREE to write and say anything it wants, but much of what it says is FAKE NEWS, pushing a political agenda or just plain trying to hurt people. HONESTY WINS!" he continued. 

The ongoing feud between the administration and the media has eroded U.S. press freedom over the past year. In April, the U.S. dropped several points in the Reporters Without Borders's annual World Press Freedom index, slipping from number 43 in 2017 to number 45 among 180 countries ranked. 

“U.S. press freedom, enshrined in the First Amendment to the 1787 constitution, has been under increasing attack over the past few years, and the first year of President Donald J. Trump’s presidency has fostered further decline in journalists’ right to report,” the 2018 report reads. “He has declared the press an ‘enemy of the American people’ in a series of verbal attacks toward journalists, attempted to block White House access to multiple media outlets, and routinely uses the term ‘fake news’ in retaliation for critical reporting.”

The report added that “journalists and their devices continue to be searched at the US border, while some foreign journalists are still denied entry into the US after covering sensitive topics like Colombia’s FARC or Kurdistan.”

Press freedom in the U.S. may be getting worse, but there are still 44 other countries where journalists have more freedom to do their jobs. Norway was ranked number one among all of the countries included in the list. Reporters Without Borders notes that violence against journalists is rare in Norway and media are free from censorship or political pressure. Other northern European countries, like Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, and Switzerland, all ranked closely behind Norway.

1017237612-594x594 White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders calls on reporters during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House August 15, 2018 in Washington, DC. The U.S. was ranked number 45 in the annual World Press Freedom Index. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Jamaica and Costa Rica were among the most highly ranked in the Americas, at numbers six and 10 respectively.

“Jamaica ranks among the countries that most respect freedom of information. The very occasional physical attacks on journalists must be offset against this, but no serious act of violence or threat to media freedom has been reported since February 2009, a month that saw two cases of abuse of authority by the Kingston police,” the report reads.

Costa Rica, meanwhile, is a “remarkable exception in a region characterized by violent crime and corruption,” according to the report. However, Reporters Without Borders noted that some journalists in the country have been spied on by judicial investigators. Other developing nations such as Uruguay, Suriname, Ghana, Cabo Verde, Namibia, Trinidad and Tobago, Burkina Faso and South Africa all rated higher for media freedom than the United States.

Belgium, New Zealand and Denmark ranked seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively, while Canada was in the 18th position and the U.K. was placed 40th. 

The media watchdog has published the report every year since 2002. To read this year's full list, click here

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