Quantcast
Connect with us

Liberian journalist threatened, hiding in U.S. after reporting on genital mutilation

Published

on

Liberian journalist Mae Azango’s courageous reporting on female genital mutilation in her country helped to ignite an international controversy.

But she had to go into hiding following threats and is now on a visit to the United States.

Her 8 March article, “Growing pains: Sande tradition of genital cutting threatens health of Liberian women”, prompted an immediate backlash.

ADVERTISEMENT

Though it forced Liberian officials to declare that the traditional ritual of female genital mutilation should be stopped, police failed to help Azango when she began receiving threats of violence.

“I was doing hot stories on them so they were not happy with me,” Azango said during an interview at the New York offices of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) last week.

Many Liberians evidently thought she “should have known better” than to report on such a controversial topic.

Asked why she did so, Azango said: “A lot of people don’t have a voice. If I don’t write about it, how will people know about it?”

She was enraged by the fact that children as young as three are subject to what is wrongly called female circumcision.

ADVERTISEMENT

As many as two out of every three Liberian girls in 10 of Liberia’s 16 tribes are reported to be subject to the practice.

Along with threats of violence from the Sande, the Liberian community which carries put the procedure, even Azango’s own tenant threatened her.

Faced by apathy from the police, Azango fled into hiding with her nine-year-old daughter as international organisations – such as CPJ, Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders – protested to the Liberian government.

ADVERTISEMENT

It resulted in the information ministry releasing a statement saying it would guarantee Azango’s safety. But she believes these were superficial gestures.

“On the ground, Mae Azango is her own security,” she says. “My name is already there before I get somewhere.”

ADVERTISEMENT

It means, she says, that she must be doing something right and that her stories are having an impact.

Azango intends to return to Liberia to continue her work. Before she left the country she says she told information minister Louis Brown: “Mr Minister, I’m going to America but I’m coming back. That gives you two weeks to clean up your backyard.”

Sources:CPJ/FrontPage Africa/The World

ADVERTISEMENT

© Guardian News and Media 2012

[Liberian journalists Tetee Gabro and Mae Azango (right) via tlupic / Flickr]


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

WATCH: Video shows NYPD beating anti-police violence protesters with batons

Published

on

Protesters of police violence received a harsh reception from the New York Police Department on Friday evening.

The protesters had marched to the Barclays Center, where they were met with a large police presence.

Heavy police presence posted outside of Barclays Center. If you’re protesting, please stay safe.

- Legal Aid Society’s Contact Number: 212-577-3300- Link to Brooklyn Bail Fund: https://t.co/cxRXqgrrum #BlackLivesMatter #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/IgISXvkOj1

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump is enacting the presidency ‘George Wallace never had’: Conservative columnist

Published

on

On Friday, writing for The Washington Post, conservative columnist Max Boot tore into President Donald Trump's legacy on race.

"We know how a normal president responds when a white police officer ignites furious protests by killing a black man. It is the way President Barack Obama responded in 2014 after a grand jury refused to indict a white police officer who had fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the National Guard had to be called in to deal with looting and fires," wrote Boot. "Obama expressed sympathy for the protesters — their anger, he noted, was 'rooted in realities that have existed in this country for a long time' — while making clear that he had no sympathy with violence: 'Burning buildings, torching cars, destroying property, putting people at risk — that’s destructive and there’s no excuse for it. Those are criminal acts. And people should be prosecuted if they engage in criminal acts.'"

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

White House goes into lockdown as George Floyd protests in DC rage hotter

Published

on

On Friday, CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang reported that the White House has now issued lockdown orders.

The development comes as protests against the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota have spread to Washington, D.C. and crowds are growing angrier. Earlier in the evening, a protester scaled the wall of a federal building and spray-painted an obscene anti-Trump message above a window.

The White House is currently under lockdown orders. https://t.co/LasnCIjkum

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image