FRANCE has fallen one place in the Press Freedom Index compiled by the Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontières, leaving it behind both the UK and the US, as well as countries such as Mali, Tanzania and Chile.
The annual report is based upon a questionnaire that is completed by journalists from around the world, with France sitting in 44th place.
France, as well as Italy, were highlighted for their 'violation of the protection of journalists’ sources, the continuing concentration of media ownership, displays of contempt and impatience on the part of government officials towards journalists and their work, and judicial summonses'.
Although European countries were heavily criticised by the group's secretary-general Jean-François Julliard.
"It is disturbing to see several European Union member countries continuing to fall in the index," he said in a statement.
"If it does not pull itself together, the European Union risks losing its position as world leader in respect for human rights.
"And if that were to happen, how could it be convincing when it asked authoritarian regimes to make improvements? There is an urgent need for the European countries to recover their exemplary status."