The South Asia Press Freedom Report (SAPFR) is an annual feature of the International Federation of Journalists’ World Press Freedom Day observance in South Asia.

Over its 19-year history, the report has established itself as a significant regional campaign tool for enhancing professional journalism in South Asia. It is the pre-eminent summary of journalism working conditions; advocacy for media rights and freedom of expression and the campaigns of the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) – a broad media alliance defending journalists’ rights and freedom of expression in South Asia.

In 2021, this important media advocacy tool is more significant than ever before. In the current climate of pandemic, growing intolerance towards diverse and dissenting opinions, undermining of digital journalism and increased violence towards journalists and media.

This report has been produced by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on behalf of the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN).

The IFJ acknowledges the important contribution of its affiliates and partners in this report:

  • Afghan Independent Journalists’ Association
  • Bangladesh Manobadhikar Sangbadik Forum
  • Federation of Nepali Journalists
  • Federation of Media Employees’ Trade Unions, Sri Lanka
  • Free Media Movement, Sri Lanka
  • Indian Journalists’ Union
  • Journalists Association of Bhutan
  • Maldives Journalists’ Association
  • National Union of Journalists, India
  • National Union of Journalists, Nepal
  • Nepal Press Union
  • Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists
  • Sri Lanka Working Journalists’ Association



Editor: Laxmi Murthy
Executive Editor: Jane Worthington
Designed by: LX9 Design 

Special thanks to:

  • Govinda Acharya
  • Prakash Adhikari
  • Ujjwal Acharya
  • Emily Beck
  • Sunanda Deshapriya
  • Pulack Ghatack
  • Mohamed Hamdhoon
  • Dilrukshi Handunnetti
  • Sabina Inderjit
  • G.M. Jamali
  • Dharmasiri Lankapeli
  • Hujatullah Mujadidi
  • Ahmed Naish
  • Amelia Noble
  • Geetartha Pathak
  • Umesh Pokharel
  • Seetha Ranjani
  • Zaheena Rasheed
  • Adnan Rehmat
  • Dipankar Roy
  • Urvashi Sarkar
  • Cyril Sam
  • Geeta Seshu
  • Badri Sigdel
  • Aziz Ahmad Tassal
  • Rinzin Wangchuk
  • Frank De Zoysa 

The 2020-21 report is published through the support of: UNESCO New Delhi Office, Norsk journalist association, FCDO and NED


Images: With special thanks to Agence France-Presse for the use of images throughout the report. Additional photographs are contributed by IFJ affiliates and also accessed under a Creative Commons Attribution. Non-Commercial Licence and are acknowledged as such through this report.

 Note: UNESCO is pleased to support the South-Asia Press Freedom Report 2020-21 with limited financial assistance. However, since this report has been independently developed  by the International Federation of Journalists, Asia Pacific, therefore, UNESCO has no influence over the content. The author(s) will be responsible for the choice and the presentation of the facts contained  in the paper and for the opinions expressed therein, which will not be necessarily those of UNESCO and do not commit the Organisation.

The designations employed and the presentation of the material throughout this book will not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNESCO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers and boundaries.