Japan ranked 72nd on a 2017 list of press freedom around the world — its same overall position from a year earlier — but fell to last among its Group of Seven peers as Italy climbed to 52nd, according to the 180-nation World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders on Wednesday.

The Paris-based watchdog warned that media freedom around the world is in danger, particularly in leading democratic countries, as the United States fell two places to 43rd and Britain slipped two spots to 40th. The worsening situation reflects governments' "obsession with surveillance and violations of the right to the confidentiality of sources," it said.

The group said media freedom in Japan has been declining ever since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's second administration took office in 2012.