Umar Cheema is an investigative reporter for The News. He was only journalist from Pakistan in ICIJ team that worked on the biggest-ever data leak in the world history, Panama Papers, and later on, Bahamas Leaks.
His series exposing tax evasion by MPs forced the government to make public tax records of lawmakers and other citizens. Pakistan is the fourth country to have done so, after Sweden, Finland and Norway. Cheema’s reporting on Right to Information law has triggered reforms and expedited the introduction of RTI legislation in Punjab.
He received numerous recognitions, including the Knight International Journalism Award, the International Press Freedom Award, the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Services in Journalism, the Tully Free Speech Award, the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, the Certificate of Excellence (Global Shining Light Award) and the RTI Champion Award.
In 2008, he won Daniel Pearl Fellowship, becoming the first Pearl fellow to work at The New York Times. He holds a Master’s Degree in Mass Communication from Punjab University in Lahore, Pakistan. He also attended the London School of Economics where he received a Master of Sciences Degree in Comparative Politics (Conflict Studies). Cheema co-founded the Center for Investigative Reporting in Pakistan in 2012.