PARIS--Japan slipped into last place for press freedom among the Group of Seven industrialized nations, a Reporters Without Borders (RSF) index showed on April 26.

Overall, Japan ranked 72nd among 180 nations and regions, unchanged from 2016, but still a hefty drop from its 11th-place ranking in 2010, according to the international NGO.

Italy was last in the G-7 in 2016, but the country improved from 77th to 52nd this year.

Under the heading “The threat from Shinzo Abe,” the RSF mentioned the replacements of popular TV news anchors who were critical of the Abe administration.

The report said there is “growing self-censorship within the leading media groups” and that Japanese government officials “do not hide their hostility toward the media.”

It also wrote that “the government continues to refuse any debate” over the state secrets protection law, despite a U.N. special rapporteur questioning its legitimacy in April 2016.

The Paris-based RSF warned that the power of journalism is being “weakened by democracy’s erosion” across the globe.

The Nordic countries of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark topped the list. Syria and North Korea were among the countries at the bottom.

The index is based on a survey of journalists working in subject areas as well as media experts.

Among other G-7 countries, Germany ranked 16th, Canada 22nd, France 39th, Britain 40th and the United States 43rd.