Taha Siddiqui is a Pakistani journalist living in exile in Paris since February 2018. After an attack on Mr. Siddiqui on 10th of January, 2018, he and his family left Islamabad on 13th February with as much as a few suitcases, leaving their home country Pakistan, for a safer refuge in France.
The attack, believed to be carried out by Pakistani military personnel, was a failed abduction and possible assassination attempt on Siddiqui when he was on his way to the Islamabad airport for a flight to London on the morning of 10th January 2018. He escaped during the kidnapping, and was later advised by the then Interior Minister of Pakistan to seek pardon from the military chief. He refused to do so, and gave up his residence in Pakistan instead of bowing down to the Pakistan Army, which accuses him of speaking against the state. His so-called crime: he reports, comments and analyzes Pakistan Army and its role in the country and the region, without exercising any self-censorship. Read more about the attack on him here in a piece by the New York Times.
Siddiqui is an investigative journalist and opinion-writer, and has reported from South Asia and Afghanistan. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, France24, Al Jazeera, Christian Science Monitor, among many other international, Pakistani and Indian news organizations. His focus areas include civil-military affairs, terrorism, and human rights.
Siddiqui is now trying to rebuild his life from scratch and wants to continue working on Pakistan and South Asia, and the idea to launch SAFENEWSROOMS.org comes from his own harrowing experience, as he refused to self-censor. From the safety of exile in Paris, he wants to continue talking about freedom of expression, especially in the newsrooms across South Asia.
The digital media platform was launched on 3rd of May, 2018 – an apt date for such an initiative given the UN commemorates this day as the World Press Freedom Day. In six months of its launch, SAFENEWSROOMS.org was short listed for a Prize for Independence, by Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom awards. Read more here.
Taha Siddiqui also teaches journalism at the prestigious SciencesPo university in France, and is writing a book on Pakistan. He is also a social media strategist, managing communications for international news and HR organizatons.