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White House press secretary Sean Spicer arrives in the briefing room of the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, April 26, 2017. President Donald Trump is proposing dramatically reducing the taxes paid by corporations big and small in an overhaul his administration says will spur economic growth and bring jobs and prosperity to the middle class. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Press freedoms around the world strike a 13-year low. The US suffered, too.


Press freedom in the US as well as in other parts of the world is on the decline, according to a report recently released by the independent watchdog group Freedom House. In its annual report, the group conducts an analysis based on the legal, political, and economic environment for journalists in the prior year. The countries are rated on a scale of 0-100, with 0 representing the freest press.

The U.S. was knocked down two points, from 21 to 23--its worst rating in more than a decade.

In its key findings, the group notes President Trump's role in demoting the U.S. to 23, specifically referring to his "disparage of the press" and "rejecting the news media’s role in holding governments to account for their words and actions.

Freedom House also attributed the slight decline to "harassment and roughing up of journalists at Trump rallies and a campaign of antisemitic abuse against Jewish journalists on Twitter."

And, despite Trump's "fake news" claims, there is "abundant" evidence that major news organizations remain undeterred in pursuing investigations of Trump and the government. 

But other countries experienced even more drastic declines. Poland, Turkey, Burundi, Hungary, Bolivia, Serbia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, suffered the most. 

To put things in perspective, less than a quarter -- 13 percent-- of the world's population enjoys press freedom, defined by the watchdog group as "a media environment where coverage of political news is robust, the safety of journalists is guaranteed, state intrusion in media affairs is minimal, and the press is not subject to onerous legal or economic pressures."

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