PARIS, October 20 (RIA Novosti) - Russia fell to 153rd place in the latest Reporters Without Borders report on press freedom, published on Tuesday.
Russia has dropped 12 places since 2008, and is now below neighboring Belarus for the first time.
"The reasons for this fall, three years after Anna Politkovskaya's murder, include the continuing murders of journalists and human rights activists," the organization said. "They also include the return with increasing force of censorship and reporting taboos and the complete failure to punish those responsible for the murders."
Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway and Sweden are joint top of the press freedom index.
Turkmenistan (173), North Korea (174) and Eritrea (175) occupy the last three places, and are described as countries "where the media are so suppressed, they are non-existent".
Despite the U.S. moving from 36th to 20th place, "the attitude of the United States towards the media in Iraq and Afghanistan is worrying," Reporters Without Borders said.