The universal information sharing on the internet has greatly improved the productivity of our society but also increased the risk of privacy violations. Privacy preserving data publishing renders approaches and methods for sharing useful information in the form of publication while preserving data privacy. Recently, abundant literature has been dedicated to this research and tremendous progress has been made, ranging from privacy risk evaluation and privacy protection principles, counter-threat measures and anonymization techniques, information loss and data utility metrics and algorithms. This study provides a comparative analysis of the state of the art works along multiple dimensions. Privacy preserving data publishing research is motivated by real world problems which however are far from being solved as there are still challenging issues to be addressed. This study helps to identify challenges, focus on research efforts and highlight the future directions.