© Christa Schuenke
Claudia Anthony was born 1963 in Freetown, Sierra Leone. During her studies at the University of Kiev, in March 1991, a brutal civil war broke out in her home country, and armed hordes indiscriminately massacred thousands of men, women and children. In 1992, the most powerful rebel group, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), controlled the east and south of the country. After Claudia Anthony had acquired a Master’s Degree in International Law at the Ukrainian Institute of International Relations in 1995, she returned to Sierra Leone, where as a journalist she strove to raise public awareness. When she succeeded in proving crimes committed by members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and uncovered a planned massacre by the rebels in December 1998, she was accused of “irresponsible journalism” with the intent to “undermine state security”. On 31 December 1998, the rebels set fire to her family’s house in Waterloo, Sierra Leone; making her and her two children, as well as her mother, fugitives in their own country. On 7 January 1999, armed men and youths burned down the editorial offices of the Tribune of the People, the newspaper she had founded and worked at as managing editor. And yet, in November 1999, Claudia Anthony established the Alliance for Female Journalists, an organization devoted to the concerns of the few women journalists in Sierra Leone. From September 2000 to December 2005, she was the recipient of a PEN Writers in Exile Program grant. While in Berlin, she completed her Master’s in Intercultural Conflict Management. In 2006, Claudia Anthony returned to Sierra Leone, where she began to work as program coordinator of United Nations Radio. In 2010, she was commissioned as Senior Producer for the BBC in Sierra Leone to develop the program covering the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor. That same year, she supervised the editorial board of the news desk and was later appointed Head of the BBC Radio Program in Sierra Leone. Currently she is a consultant to the BBC and other broadcasting stations in Sierra Leone.