The UK has one of the worst environments for press freedom in western Europe, according to a global ranking that places Britain below the likes of Uruguay, Samoa, and Chile for restrictions on reporters as they seek to hold power to account.

Reporters Without Borders, which campaigns for journalistic freedoms, said the UK ranked 40th out of 180 countries on its annual World Press Freedom Index, leaving it ranked between Trinidad & Tobago and Burkina Faso.

The campaigning organisation cited proposals to introduce tougher press regulation, the government’s campaign to limit encryption on services such as WhatsApp, and restrictions by Labour and the Conservatives on journalists’ access to politicians during the 2017 general election as evidence of a “heavy-handed” approach towards the media in the UK.

Other concerns include law firm Appleby using British courts to sue the Guardianand the BBC over the publication of the Paradise Papers, plus the fact the BBC political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, required a bodyguard for her protection while attending last autumn’s political party conferences.