The battle for a free press sometimes feels like a war between indignation and intimidation. Journalists learn of abuses of power, crime, or corruption, and--indignant--they speak out. In response, the perpetrators of those abuses--be they government officials or criminals--try to intimidate the journalists into silence with threats, lawsuits, jail, or even murder. Last night, the Committee to Protect Journalists paid tribute to a handful of journalists for whom indignation is a driving force, no matter the scale of intimidation.
New York, November 21, 2012--Four fearless journalists from Brazil, China, Kyrgyzstan, and Liberia were honored Tuesday evening at the Committee to Protect Journalists' 22nd International Press Freedom Awards benefit dinner, an annual recognition of courageous journalism, hosted by PBS senior correspondent Gwen Ifill.
New York, November 13, 2012-- Four fearless journalists from Brazil, China, Kyrgyzstan and Liberia who risked their lives and liberty to expose wrongdoings will be awarded the Committee to Protect Journalists' 2012 International Press Freedom Awards, an annual recognition of courageous reporting. Harassed, tortured, threatened and imprisoned for their critical investigations, the awardees have endured reprisals for their work and continue to persevere. The awards dinner is open for press coverage. Accreditation requests will be accepted until noon on November 19 (EST).
Mae Azango was not surprised when the Liberian police failed to help when she began receiving threats of violence in response to an article she had written about female genital cutting that was published on in FrontPage Africa on March 8. She had previously reported critically on the police, including a case of police brutality against the mother of a rape victim. "I was doing hot stories on them so they were not happy with me," Azango proudly states.
Liberian journalist Mae Azango's courageous reporting on female genital mutilation, which made her the target of threats and ignited international controversy, has forced her government to finally take a public position on the dangerous ritual. For the first time, Liberian officials have declared they want to stop female genital mutilation, a traditional practice passed down for generations. Involving the total or partial removal of the clitoris, the ritual is practiced by the Sande secret women's society. As many as two out of every three Liberian girls in ten out of Liberia's 16 tribes are subjected to the practice, according to news accounts.
Dear President Johnson Sirleaf: The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by threats made against Liberian journalist Mae Azango, who has been in hiding since last week after she reported on the practice of female genital mutilation. We urge you, Madam President, as Africa's first and only female head of state and a champion of women's rights, to direct the Liberian authorities to ensure her safety and fully investigate the threats made against her.
New York, March 9, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Liberian authorities to ensure the safety of journalists who have been repeatedly threatened for exposing the practice of female genital mutilation in the country.
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