Washington - The United States, due to an "overly broad and abusive interpretation of national security needs," fell below El Salvador and Romania in a world press freedom ranking released Wednesday.
The US fell 13 positions to 46th place in this year's World Press Freedom Index, produced since 2002 by the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders. The organization said the main reason the US dropped so far in the rankings was because of its dogged efforts to "track down whistleblowers and the sources of leaks."
"The trial of and conviction of Private Bradley Manning and the pursuit of NSA analyst Edward Snowden were warnings to all those thinking of assisting in the disclosure of sensitive information that would clearly be in the public interest," the report reads.
"The whistleblower is the enemy," it adds.
Finland topped the index for the fourth year in a row as the country enjoying the most unfettered press freedom. It was followed by the Netherlands and Norway.
The bottom three countries on the list of 180 are Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea. Freedom of information is "non-existent," in those three nations, which "continue to be black holes and living hells for journalists who inhabit them," the report said.