Estonia was joint with Iceland for the top ranking in the index, followed by Canada, the US and Germany.
Meanwhile, China was bottom of the index, followed by Iran and Syria.
Freedom on the internet declined around the world for the sixth consecutive year, and two thirds of internet users (67 per cent) live in countries where criticism of the government, military or ruling family are subject to censorship.
Picture: Freedom House
Freedom House labelled China the year's "worst abuser of internet freedom".
The Chinese government’s crackdown on free expression under President Xi Jinping’s “information security” policy is taking its toll on the digital activists who have traditionally fought back against censorship and surveillance. Dozens of prosecutions related to online expression have increased self-censorship, as have legal restrictions introduced in 2015. A criminal law amendment added seven-year prison terms for spreading rumors on social media (a charge often used against those who criticize the authorities), while some users belonging to minority religious groups were imprisoned simply for watching religious videos on their mobile phones.