The fight goes on: Press freedom in South Asia 2006-2007

May. 04, 2007

Although another tumultuous year has passed in South Asia, overshadowed by political instability, poverty and state repression, journalists and media workers throughout the region have continued their battle for a free press.

It is clearer than ever that it takes extraordinary courage, dedication and commitment for journalists to tell the essential stories of our communities in the region, said Jacqueline Park, director, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Asia-Pacific.

The IFJs fifth annual South Asia Press Freedom Report: The fight goes on: Press freedom in South Asia 2006-2007, produced on behalf of the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) and supported by UNESCO, presents an overview of the main issues challenging media freedom in South Asia and explains trends and specific incidents both positive and negative.

A comprehensive list of cases of media freedom violations and attacks on journalists from May 2006 to April 2007 has also been compiled by the IFJ, the organisation representing over 500,000 journalists in over 115 countries.

There are reports on resilience and protest by our colleagues across the region: the new hope for media freedom in Nepal after the signing of the historic peace accord in November last year; the inauguration of media privatisation in Bhutan; the deterioration of journalist safety in Afghanistan as they become hostage targets to insurgents; the muzzling of media in Sri Lanka due to controversial terrorism laws; growing government hostility against journalists in Pakistan and the Maldives; mounting pressure faced by Indian journalists in conflict zones; and uncertain times for the Bangladesh media in its current state of emergency.

Highlighting these cases of violence against journalists and press freedom violations plays a valuable role in not only raising awareness of theses issues but also in applying pressure to ensure the perpetrators of these assaults are brought to justice.

The report is testament to the professional solidarity among journalists in South Asia, and their strength and determination in the face of such daunting challenges, Park said.

Through protest and solidarity actions, such as the publication of this report, the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) will continue to promote press freedom, independent media and a safer working environment for journalists in South Asia, Park said.

See for the full report.

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