Skip to main content

Journalist MAE Azango, Albert Porte Honored in New Book On Investigative Journalism in Africa

FrontPageAfrica reporter Mae Azango and the pioneer of activism in Liberia the late Albert Porte are among scores of African journalists and campaigners captured in a new book promoting investigative journalism in Africa--"African Muckraking"--launched Thursday at an investigative journalism conference in Johannesburg, South Africa.

"For Mae and Rodney (Sieh) to publish this story on the front page of FrontPageAfrica on International Women's Day was huge inside the country" - Professor Prue Clarke

Journalist Azango, 45, is mostly famed for her International women's Day 2012 story on female genital cutting (FGC), which among several international awards won her an International Press Freedom Award by the International Committee to Protect Journalist (ICPJ).

Albert Porte, who died in 1986 at 80, was the first Liberian campaigner to stand up to a Liberian government, decrying corruption and misuse of power.

Famous for carrying along with him a toothbrush and pillow with him wherever he went -- anticipating imprisonment at any time -- is famous for his pamphlets on social justice and democracy.

Among them "Thinking about the Unthinkable Things--the Democratic Way" (1967), "Thoughts on Change" (1977) and "The Day Monrovia Stood Still" (1979).

The book's editor Anya Schiffrin told the launch in an auditorium at the University Witwatersrand that people like Porte and Mae are in a long array of African investigative journalists, evidence of a long running tradition of African investigative Journalism and activism by African themselves.

She said the works of these journalists are proofs of an enduring history and resolve by African journalists and campaigners to hold their leaders accountable; to seek change from colonialism, Apartheid and post-colonialism for democracy that works for ordinary Africans.

The book honors the likes of Norbert Zongo of Burkina Faso, who wrote about the excesses of the regime of Blaise Compaore; Carlos Cardoso of Mozambique, who exposed corruption in that country and, among others; Mohamed Amin of Ethiopia, reported on the great famine of Ethiopia.

"One of the things that we wanted to do was to have African stories."

"Very often there are great pieces of journalism by Western reporters, which try not to include them," Schiffrin said.

"We also wanted to be true to the tradition of the continent and the stores of the journalists who wrote them," she added.

"As many of you know, there were newspapers in Africa in the 19th Century."

"One thing I most enjoy is going to the Library of Congress and reading the stories of the 'letter to the editor'.

"Some of the subjects the journalists cover today were present in the 19th Century."

"You find people complaining about corruption, talking about the role of the journalist in fight corruption. "

"You find cranky letter saying 'Why are these young people listening to Western music? They should be listening to African music.'"

Ten of the people who worked with Schiffrin on the book were in attendance, including the publisher of FrontPageAfrica Rodney Sieh and the Founder and Executive Director of New Narratives--that works with Liberian journalists--Professor Prue Clarke.

Speaking on behalf of Azango, who did not attend the launch, Professor Clarke said Azango risked all to speak about a "taboo subject", FGC.

Professor Prue Clarke of New Narratives and Rodney Sieh of FrontPageAfrica

"For Mae and Rodney (Sieh) to publish this story on the front page of FrontPage Africa on International Women's Day was huge inside the country," Professor Clarke recalled.

"Mae faced incredible threats. She had to go into hiding for three weeks, and during which time we were able to rally an international coalition to put pressure on [President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf]," she added.

"What it did was it freed up space to talk about female genital cutting, which was taboo before - The President did come in support of the elimination of female genital cutting. It still happens... but what's different about it now is that there is a conversation happening that hadn't happened before Mae's reporting."

Sieh eulogized Porte, who was his uncle, for probably pioneering the field of investigative journalism in Liberia.

"His work is, for me, the testament for modern generations of journalists who see it as the bar for what you can achieve in this profession," Sieh said.

"I think he means a lot for me."

"Everything he wrote about during those days--whether it was about the President buying a yacht when he should have been improving healthcare or just misusing power--is still relevant today.

"I think he stands among the greatest journalists of his generation."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

'He kicked me in the stomach, I peed on myself. He body-slammed me to the floor twice and told me he would kill me, no one will find my body.: In her journey to recovery, domestic violence survivor Christine R. M. Dennis-Freeman tells it all

The tragic story of Christine R. M. Dennis-Freeman, like that of Agnes Yarlee and Diane Hart before her, has brought the issue of domestic abuse out of the dark unspoken place it thrives and into the open.
It's horrendous that it takes the death of women, or an attempt to kill women, to get a serious debate  on the issue of domestic abuse. Discussing domestic violence in our society is a real taboo and most men within the Liberian society, don't even find the topic worth their time, as compared to discussing sports, politics and corruption. 
But these women mention above are just the tip of the iceberg.


Defying the odds, Mrs. Dennis-Freeman refuses to keep her mouth shut and go with the flow of the Liberian society.  She courageously sat in a wheel chair up to 1:30am, sharing her story with C Liberia Clearly.  In her own words, she walked us through the day that led to her horrific story.

The Christine R. M. Dennis-Freeman story
 I left America on April 4th, 2017, the inc…

Liberian Superstar Quincy B Dead

2 March 2017 / Berenice Mulubah 
On March 3, 2017, Liberian superstar, Quincy L. Borrow aka Quincy B, died from a car accident, on his way from KARAOKE NITE, in Monrovia, Liberia.  The artist was pulled out of the damaged vehicle and rush to the JFK hospital. Quincy B did not survived.   Few hours before his death, the artist was spotted live on snap chat, singing Karaoke. Quincy B who was the driver of the car, died immediately.  Artists CIC , Margas Bimba and Feouls Kaba in the vehicle, as well, they are at the hospital, being treated.  CIC broken his legs in the accident. CIC and Quincy B are nominated for the Liberian Entertainment Awards 2017.

Liberian-American Wilmot Collins unseats Mayor Smith - Becomes 1st Black Mayor In Montana

Wilmot Collins will be Helena’s new mayor, unseating incumbent Jim Smith in a close race Tuesday. 
Collins, 54, will be the city's first new mayor in 16 years after running a long campaign based in progressive principles.
“The people of Helena have spoken, and I am honored to be able to serve them,” Collins said as the night drew to a close. “I intend to work with commissioners, work for the people of Helena and find what is best for this city.”Collins also sought to praise Smith for his work over the past decade and a half.
“I commend Mayor Smith. He’s done a great job for the city, and I hope to work with him in the future," Collins said. 
At the La Pa Grill on 6th Avenue in downtown Helena, Collins and other members of the self-described “progressive ticket” watched and waited for the results of the 2017 election.
The feeling was festive as Collins received a call from U.S. Sen. Jon Tester congratulating Collins on his victory. Victory cigars were passed around the room at the …