Journalist Fatma Naib explored the subject of FGM – the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia – which is also known as “cutting”. The practice is most prevalent in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, but it also happens in Europe, the United States and Latin America.
It was while making an online documentary for Al Jazeera about female genital mutilation that Naib realised how deeply rooted it is in many cultures.
At least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM. Besides causing severe pain, it has serious immediate and long-term health consequences, including complications during childbirth and can even lead to death.
Naib welcomed the award and paid homage to all the women in the world affected by FGM.
“I am honoured and humbled to accept this Peabody Award and to join past recipients whom I have long admired. I would like to express my gratitude to the Peabody Award committee for selecting our film and to salute Al Jazeera for giving me the opportunity to cover a topic that is so often ignored and misunderstood,” she said.
“At the heart of our film was a desire to approach this topic in a deeply personal and non-judgmental way. In Somaliland, Kenya and Sweden, they shared their stories with us. Some showed great bravery by simply talking about a topic widely considered taboo. Others are at the forefront of the grassroots movements leading the fight against female genital mutilation. This award is dedicated to each of them.”
Behind the scenes
The production team behind The Cut consisted of Director Lynn Ferguson, Executive Producer Farid Barsoum, Director of Photography Petra Graaf, and Sound Operators Nadine Richardson and Linda Nasstrom. Barkhad Kaariye, a local producer in Somaliland, Gladys Njoroge in Kenya, and Bothina Nasser in Sweden also participated in the project.
Giles Trendle, managing director of Al Jazeera English, said: “We are honoured and delighted to receive this leading, prestigious and coveted award for our courageous journalism. As ever, such work is highly collaborative and I wish to congratulate Fatma Naib, our correspondent, for bringing this documentary forward; the executive producer who recognised the importance of tackling this sensitive topic; the filmmaker, the local producers, crew and the film editor who helped bring the story to the screen.
“And last but not least, I would like to thank the women we filmed in different countries telling their stories with such courage and candour,” said Trendle.
The Peabody Awards honour some of the most influential, illuminating and powerful stories in media. Each year, more than 1,000 entries are evaluated by some 30 committees.
Founded in 1941 and administered by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Peabody is the oldest award in electronic media and recognises achievements and public service in television, radio and online.
It was the eighth time Al Jazeera English has won a Peabody Award.