The Obama administration’s handling of whistleblower Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency leaks and the investigation of a string of leaks produced a plunge in the country’s rating on press freedoms and government openness, according to a global survey released Tuesday.
The U.S. under President Obama, who once promised to run the “most transparent” administration in the country’s history, fell from 32nd to 46th in the 2014 World Press Freedom Index, a drop of 13 slots. The index, compiled by the press advocacy group Reporters Without Borders, analyzes 180 countries on criteria such as official abuse, media independence and infrastructure to determine how free journalists are to report.
Officials of the group said press freedoms were under attack around the world as governments grow increasingly sophisticated in collecting sensitive data and in tracking down those who leak it.
“Journalists are being caught up in what is, I think, fairly characterized as a rapidly growing surveillance apparatus, and this is happening all over the world,” said Geoffrey King, Internet advocacy coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists.
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