Reporters Without Borders says Russia, the United States, Japan and many parts of Europe lost ground last year in its barometer and ranking of global press freedoms.

The Paris-based media watchdog said two-thirds of the 180 countries in its World Press Freedom index fared worse than in 2014. It cited a context of war, the rise of non-state groups and economic crisis.

Western Europe, while top-ranked, lost the most ground as a region. Russia slipped two slots to 152nd place amid "draconian laws" and a squeeze on independent media. RSF said the U.S. fell three places to 49th amid a "war on information" by the Obama administration in some cases.

China, Iran and North Korea were among the 10 lowest-ranked countries.

RSF uses seven criteria to calculate its index.