Ofcom rejected 17 complaints about Fatima Manji presenting coverage of the terror attack in Nice in July (Photo: Screengrab)
Elham Asaad Buaras
Ofcom rejected 17 complaints about a hijab wearing journalist on TV while presenting coverage of the terror attack in Nice in July. The broadcasting watchdog ruled out an investigation into whether Channel 4 choosing Fatima Manji to present the news was inappropriate.
Kelvin MacKenzie, who attacked the decision by Channel 4 News in his Sun column and called on readers to complain to the media regulator, did not in fact end up lodging a complaint himself.
MacKenzie wrote: “Was it done to stick one in the eye of the ordinary viewer who looks at the hijab as a sign of the slavery of Muslim women by a male-dominated and clearly violent religion?”
“I will be looking at making a formal complaint to Ofcom under the section of the broadcasting code which deals with impartiality.
“Since the question of religious motivation was central to the coverage of the Nice attack, I would ask whether it is appropriate for a newsreader to wear religious attire that could undermine the viewers’ perception of impartiality.”
But MacKenzie, whose column sparked 1,900 complaints to press watchdog, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), did not make a complaint himself.
Channel 4 had previously called the piece “completely unacceptable, and arguably tantamount to inciting religious and even racial hatred”.
A Channel 4 spokesman said: “It is wrong to suggest that a qualified journalist should be barred from reporting on a particular story or present on a specific day because of their faith. Fatima Manji is an award-winning journalist. We are proud that she is part of our team and will receive, as ever, our full support in the wake of his comments.”
A spokesman for Ofcom confirmed: “We received a small number of complaints that it was inappropriate for a presenter wearing a hijab to present a report on the attack in Nice.
“We won’t be taking the matter forward for investigation. The selection of a presenter is an editorial matter for the broadcaster, and the way in which the presenter chose to dress in this case did not raise any issues under our rules”.