In recent months, arrests and legal harassment of journalists and media organizations have steadily risen in four South Asian countries – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal -, according to data collected by the International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom.

Since January, as many as 12 journalists have been arrested on various charges in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and 24 of them were attacked while carrying out their duties. Furthermore, 22 cases of legal harassment of journalists and media organizations were reported from these countries until May 15.

In December 2020, IPI launched the first ever South Asia cross-border cooperation between news organizations in the four countries to document and highlight attacks on press freedom and journalists in the region.

As part of this effort, data collected since the beginning of 2021 that press freedom is under severe pressure in these countries, as journalists and media outlets are regularly targeted for their critical investigations and stories.

Supported by UNESCO’s Global Media Defence Fund and Free Press Unlimited, the objective of the initiative is to shine a light on the challenges faced by independent media organizations and journalists face in their work and shape the public narrative to strengthen press freedom and safety of journalists.

For more information on the attacks against journalists see the Factsheets: