The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders has produced its annual World Press Freedom Index for 2005.
The Associated Press reports that "European countries lead the world in providing freedoms to news media, while the United States lost ground."
North Korea retained the last spot, 167, and the U.S. fell to 44.
"The United States dropped more than 20 spots, to 44th place, mainly because of the imprisonment of New York Times reporter Judith Miller and judicial action that was 'undermining the privacy of journalistic sources,' the statement said."
The top five countries: Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Iceland, Norway.
Other countries that ranked higher than the U.S.: Canada, France, South Korea, Italy