Dakar, Senegal (PANA) – The global press freedom watchdog, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Tuesday expressed alarm over threats made against Liberian journalist, Mae Azango, while urging President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf “to ensure the journalist’s safety”,
The journalist is said to have gone into hiding since last week, having been threatened with death 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,” CPJ wrote to President Sirleaf.
Azango, a reporter for the daily ‘Front Page Africa’ and “New Narratives”, a project supporting independent media in Africa, published an article on 8 March entitled "Growing Pains: Sande Tradition of Genital Cutting Threatens Liberian Women's Health."
According to CPJ, the article described how tribes practice female genital mutilation on as many as two out of every three girls in the country.
“Although 8 March was International Women's Day, the publication of the article was followed by death threats against Azango.”
"They left messages and told people to tell me that they will catch me and cut me to make me shut up. I have not been sleeping in my house," the journalist was quoted saying.
Liberia’s National Police Deputy Director Al Karley reportedly assured CPJ that they had given the journalist’s case high priority.
-0- PANA MLJ/VAO 14March2012