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. He escaped, and was later advised by the civilian government to seek pardon from the military. He refused to do that, and gave up his residence in Pakistan instead of bowing down to the Pakistan Army, which accuses him of working against the state. His crime: he has been a vocal critic of the Pakistan Army, and did not exercise self-censorship while performing his journalistic duties. Read more about it here.
Siddiqui is an investigative journalist and his work has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, France24, Al Jazeera, Christian Science Monitor, among many other international, Pakistani and Indian news organizations.
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. Now from the safety of exile, 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.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and tweets @TahaSSiddiqui