"Journalists have no choice but to fight back, because if they don't they will become irrelevant," Risen told students at Colby College.
As the report points out, the U.S. doesn't have a federal shield law to protects journalists from revealing confidential sources.
Another factor that hurt the U.S.'s score this year was the treatment of reporters who were covering protests in Ferguson, Missouri this summer. This is a video Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery captured before being arrested in August 2014.
At least 15 journalists were arrested while covering the demonstrations. Other journalists report being harassed, hit with tear gas and shot with rubber bullets by the police.
The report also brought up U.S. officials' harassment of Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange. (Video via ABC)
The NSA's surveillance and criminalization of the website was revealed in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
And the report calls out the Obama administration for charging eight whistle-blowers under the 1917 Espionage Act. Before Obama, only three people were ever charged under that act.
The rankings are based on a number of factors including media independence, transparency, and abuses. Overall violations of freedom of information rose 8 percent last year.