In Liberia, threats for covering female circumcision

Last week I was in Liberia, for this project with the Pulitzer Center, working with Pulitzer Reproductive Health Fellow Mae Azango on a story about midwives. But then her story about female circumcision ended up on the front page of FrontPage Africa, and things changed. Here’s my story, for PRI’s The World, about what happened when Azango broke a cultural taboo and told the story of one woman’s FGM experience.

The Committee to Protect Journalists wrote an open letter to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, asking for her to make sure Azango was protected and an investigation of the threats and those who made them was pursued. Amnesty International also called on the Liberian government to pursue an investigation. I went with Azango to the police station, where she spent several hours talking with an inspector and a senior detective and filling out a written statement to start an investigation. But she knew better than to believe much would come of it. As she told me about so many other things, “This, too, is Liberia.”

So let’s all keep an eye on this.

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