Despite the three ranks move upwards, South Africa was fourth on the African continent.
Namibia was ranked 17th, Ghana 22nd, Cape Verde 36th, Botswana 42nd and Burkina Faso 46th.
“The Index is the fruit of Reporters Without Borders’ constant work in defence of media freedom, the result of its day-by-day monitoring of freedom of information violations,” it said.
“Top of the 2015 Index are Finland, which has been in first place for five years in succession, followed by Norway and Denmark.”
At the other end of the scale, Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea, in last place, were the worst performers, ranked 178th to 180th.
France is ranked 38th, United States 49th, Russia 152nd, Iran 173rd and China 176th.
Other African countries on the list included Swaziland ranked at 155th, Zimbabwe 131th, the Democratic Republic of Congo 150th and Nigeria 111th.