(CNSNews.com) – The United States is ranked 41st in a 2016 global index produced earlier this year by Reporters Without Borders.

“The Index ranks 180 countries according to the level of freedom available to journalists,” the report stated. “It is a snapshot of the media freedom situation based on an evaluation of pluralism, independence of the media, quality of legislative framework and safety of journalists in each country.

“It does not rank public policies even if governments obviously have a major impact on their country’s ranking,” the report stated. “Nor is it an indicator of the quality of journalism in each country.

“Along with the Index, RSF calculates a global indicator and regional indicators that evaluate the overall performance of countries (in the world and in each region) as regards media freedom,” the report stated. “It is an absolute measure that complements the Index’s comparative rankings.

“The global indicator is the average of the regional indicators, each of which is obtained by averaging the scores of all the countries in the region, weighted according to their population as given by the World Bank,” the report stated.

The top 10 countries for freedom of the press, from one to 10, are Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Sweden, Ireland and Jamaica.

The countries with the least press freedom, numbered from 170 to 180 are Yemen, Cuba, Djibouti, Laos, Sudan, Vietnam, China, Syria, Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea.

The overall assessment of the index stated: “The 2016 edition of the World Press Freedom Index, which Reporters Without Borders published on 20 April, 2016, shows that there has been a deep and disturbing decline in respect for media freedom at both the global and regional levels.

“The many reasons for this decline in freedom of information include the increasingly authoritarian tendencies of governments in countries such as Turkey and Egypt, tighter government control of state-owned media, even in some European countries such as Poland, and security situations that have become more and more fraught, in Libya and Burundi, for example, or that are completely disastrous, as in Yemen,” the assessment stated.

“The survival of independent news coverage is becoming increasingly precarious in both the state and privately-owned media because of the threat from ideologies, especially religious ideologies, that are hostile to media freedom, and from large-scale propaganda machines,” the assessment stated. “Throughout the world, ‘oligarchs’ are buying up media outlets and are exercising pressure that compounds the pressure already coming from governments.”

Reporters Without Borders has been publishing the World Press Freedom Index since 2002 using the following criteria – “pluralism, media independence, media environment and self-censorship, legislative environment, transparency, infrastructure, and abuses.”