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 21-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 2023, 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’ Union
  • Afghanistan’s National Journalists Union
  • 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


  • Ujjwal Acharya
  • Shamsurahman Ahmadzai
  • Aftab Alam
  • Damith Chandimal
  • Shakila Esaqzai
  • Pulack Ghatack
  • Danish Karokhel
  • Ahmed Naish
  • TK Rajalakshmi
  • Adnan Rehmat
  • Rinzin Wangchuk

Special thanks to:

  • Naif Ahmed
  • Sheher Bano
  • Farhad Behroz
  • Olivia Cleal
  • Sabina Inderjit
  • Khairuzzaman Kamal
  • Sherry Meng
  • Hujatullah Mujadidi
  • Ghulam Mustafa
  • Lubna Naqvi
  • Indira Nawagamuwa
  • Alexander Oluk
  • Geetartha Pathak
  • Umesh Pokharel
  • Khagendra Phuyal
  • Hadi Rashed
  • Indrani Sarkar
  • Duminda Sampath
  • John Troughton
  • Ihtsham-ul-Haq

SAPFR Editorial Review Panel 2023:

  • Hana Ibrahim
  • Vaishna Roy
  • Guna Raj Luintel

Shreya Raman

The 2022-23 report is published through the support of: UNESCO New Delhi and Islamabad Offices, Norsk Journalistlag, European Commission, and the National Endowment for Democracy (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 2022-23 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.