Hundreds complain after Sun columnist criticises use of journalist wearing hijab

Hundreds complain after Sun columnist criticises use of journalist wearing hijab
Library picture of Kelvin MacKenzie

The UK's press regulator has received more than 300 complaints about remarks by The Sun columnist Kelvin MacKenzie criticising Channel 4 News for using a journalist wearing a hijab to present a report on the Nice massacre.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) said the complaints, which still have to be assessed, have related to accuracy, harassment and discrimination.

Mr MacKenzie, a former editor of the newspaper, had questioned whether it was right that Fatima Manji, a journalist who wears the traditional Muslim head covering, should have been allowed to appear on screen during Friday's Channel 4 News programme.

Stating that he could "hardly believe my eyes" Mr MacKenzie asked in his Monday column: "Was it appropriate for her to be on camera when there had been yet another shocking slaughter by a Muslim?"

French-Tunisian father-of-three Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel drove a hired lorry through crowds gathered on the the Promenade des Anglais in Nice to celebrate Bastille Day on Thursday. He killed 84 people and injured dozens more before he was shot dead by police.

In a statement Channel 4 News said: "The comments published in The Sun today by Mr MacKenzie are offensive, completely unacceptable, and arguably tantamount to inciting religious and even racial hatred.

"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."

Former Conservative Party chairman and foreign minister Baroness Warsi wrote to The Sun's editor in chief Tony Gallagher, branding it a "divisive column".

In the letter, which she shared on Twitter, Baroness Warsi wrote: "Just as politicians should carry the responsibility for xenophobic and toxic campaigning that divides communities so journalists should be held accountable for 'shock jock' writing which simply perpetuates stereotypes, demonises and attempts to hold a whole community accountable for the actions of an individual."

A spokesman for The Sun said it was making "no comment" on the issue.

Mr MacKenzie is a former editor of the newspaper when it published a front page which criticised victims of the Hillsborough disaster.

The newspaper has recently published an online article by Muslim writer Anila Baig.

She reflected on Mr MacKenzie's article which suggested the broadcaster had been deliberately provocative in putting Ms Manji in front of the camera on the day of the Nice attack.

Ms Baig described Ms Manji as "a professional who has been working for the programme for four years, not someone dragged in off the street just because she's wearing a scarf on her head".

Her article states: "The fact that Fatima can present a news bulletin and also wears a headscarf shows how great Britain is."

More on this topic

Pope Francis meets families of Nice lorry attackPope Francis meets families of Nice lorry attack

Death toll from Nice lorry attack rises after man dies in hospitalDeath toll from Nice lorry attack rises after man dies in hospital

Airline warns of drop in travel to France after attacksAirline warns of drop in travel to France after attacks

Two more suspects arrested in connection with Nice attackTwo more suspects arrested in connection with Nice attack


More in this Section

India forced to deal with heatwave and plague of locusts as it battles Covid-19India forced to deal with heatwave and plague of locusts as it battles Covid-19

Hardline former Tehran mayor elected as speaker of Iran’s new parliamentHardline former Tehran mayor elected as speaker of Iran’s new parliament

Mark Zuckerberg criticises Twitter over fact-checking Trump tweetsMark Zuckerberg criticises Twitter over fact-checking Trump tweets

Chinese legislators endorse Hong Kong national security lawChinese legislators endorse Hong Kong national security law


Lifestyle

Children’s author Sarah Webb didn’t want sixth class pupils to miss out on their graduation, so to mark their end of year she organised a series of inspirational videos delivered by well-known Irish people, says Helen O’CallaghanIrish celebrities help students say goodbye to primary school

We are all slowing our pace and appreciating the wonders around us, says Peter DowdallMagical maple holds us spellbound

Sustainable gardening tips and a fascinating documentary are among the offerings on your TV todayThursday TV Highlights: A Prime Time look at how schools will cope in the Covid era features in today's TV picks

More From The Irish Examiner