Truth vs Misinformation: IFJ launches 17th South Asia Press Freedom Report

Today, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) and its affiliates launch the 17th edition of the South Asia Press Freedom Report – Truth vs Misinformation: The Collective Push Back. The report was launched in the Maldives by UNESCO New Delhi.

Award-winning Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam captured the solidarity and support of the world’s media after his imprisonment in 2018. The 63-yearold was detained by plainclothes police at his home after making “provocative” comments in an interview to Al Jazeera about student demonstrations in Dhaka. The arrest drew condemnation from international rights groups as the veteran media worker languished in jail for more than 100 days. CREDIT: AFP

The IFJ said: “This 17th annual review of journalism in the region, Truth vs Misinformation: The Collective Push Back charts the challenges, triumphs and, most importantly, the solidarity of this region’s brave and determined media community over the past year. While battered by the ugly game-changing rise of fake news and the collapse of media’s traditional economic model, journalists, media workers and their unions again and again, showed they were defiant, bold and determined to confront a myriad challenges.”

This report shows that in spite of war mongering, the damaging impacts of fake news and hate speech, and the politics of control, South Asia’s media workers made it very clear that they have a decisive role to play in fighting the scourge of misinformation and supporting democracy and human rights. And most importantly they have a leading role in truth-telling.

Featuring Bangladeshi journalist Shahidul Alam on the cover, the report documents the ongoing challenges to press freedom in South Asia. Alam’s case was significant and epitomizes the challenges for many journalists as they battle the scourge of ‘fake’ news. Across South Asia journalists mobilized in solidarity to condemn Alam’s arrest.

Under the Journalist Safety Indicators (JSIs) the IFJ recorded 22 journalists and media workers killings in South Asia, 12 of which were killed in Afghanistan. The IFJ also recorded 130 non-fatal attacks on journalists in the year in review. For the second year the IFJ recorded journalists detained, noting that four journalists remain in detention in South Asia, out of the 24 detained during the year. The report also documented internet shutdowns in South Asia, recording 106 shutdowns, 96 of which occurred in India.

Read the full report here

Read the country reports: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka

Download the JSIs and detained list here

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram