The chapter on Nepal said that violations of press freedom continued unabated, there was very little progress in ensuring journalists’ rights. It cited the Media Council Bill and the Information Technology Management Bill as two of the examples of increased state control.
It predicted: ‘The coming year will witness a struggle for press freedom as the government will continue to attempt to control the Nepali media, particularly social media.’
Even before the COVID-19 crisis, falling revenue meant that journalists were losing their jobs. But lockdowns in countries in the region and the economic impact will mean that the press faces an existential crisis. The report specially underlined the situation in Kashmir where harsh online controls meant that the state faced the world’s longest communication shutdown in a democracy.
The 18th edition of the South Asia Press Freedom Report – States of Control: Covid, Cuts and Impunity Today was launched on 1 May by IFJ and the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) and its affiliates during a webinar hosted by the IFJ and UNESCO New Delhi on May 1, 2020.
The chapter on India
In the period under review, the IFJ and its affiliates documented 219 violations against the media, including 52 jailings or detentions, 90 threats to the lives of journalists, 65 non-fatal attacks, 35 threats against media institutions, 8 gender-based attacks and 82 threats or attacks on rural, regional or minority journalists.