Channel 4 News correspondent Fatima Manji has complained to the press watchdog over Kelvin MacKenzie’s article in The Sun, which said a Muslim journalist wearing a hijab should not have covered the Nice terror attack.
The development was revealed in a fresh statement from the programme’s editor, Ben De Pear, in which he said the presenter had been “subject to an act of religious discrimination”.
The chief executive of Channel 4 News’ parent company ITN John Hardie has also submitted a complaint.
The Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) has already received more than 1,700 complaints from the public.
Their website states:
Anyone can complain about a significant inaccuracy which has been published on a general point of fact under Clause 1 of the Editors’ Code. Where an inaccuracy relates to a specific individual or organisation, IPSO may be able to take forward a complaint from a third party but will need to consider the individual or group directly affected.
Manji’s complaint now makes it far more likely IPSO will take action.
The piece by MacKenzie said: “After Jon Snow had conducted a poor interview with a young man who had come perilously close to death the action switched back to the London studio, where I could hardly believe my eyes.
“The presenter was not one of the regulars — Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Matt Frei or Cathy Newman — but a young lady wearing a hijab.
“Her name is Fatima Manji and she has been with the station for four years. Was it appropriate for her to be on camera when there had been yet another shocking slaughter by a Muslim.
“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?
“With all the major terrorist outrages in the world currently being carried out by Muslims, I think the rest of us are reasonably entitled to have concerns about what is beating in their religious hearts. Who was in the studio representing our fears?”
The assertions made by the former Sun editor caused widespread outrage.
Baroness Warsi even penned an open letter to The Sun’s current editor, Tony Gallagher.
Hate crime hotline Tell Mama told HuffPost UK: “MacKenzie seems to believe that all Muslims are somehow at fault for the actions of terrorists and extremists.
“He uses the term ‘Muslim’ terror attack when the picture of the perpetrator is of a broken man who had numerous issues and who was hardly Muslim in his actions.
“Instead of writing an article about tackling extremism and terrorism together as communities, he turns on Fatima Manji and inadvertently suggests that any Muslim who comments or is in the public eye should be removed, by default because of the association of their faith to that of the perpetrator even though it seems he was hardly Muslim in his lifestyle.
“What we have in the comments of MacKenzie is someone who believes in ‘collective punishment’. Remove those who are Muslim because someone who was born of a Muslim mother conducts a crime. This is stomach-churningly autocratic, perverse and very dangerous.”
Last night Rod Liddle waded into the row to defend MacKenzie saying he did not doubt the broadcaster’s evening news programme purposefully chose Manji to cover the event.
Liddle said: “I don’t doubt for a minute that Channel 4 News chose Manji,, deliberately to provoke...
“Maybe Channel 4, which luckily nobody watches because it’s awful, will choose Fatima to report on all Muslim outrages and attacks.
“I hope she’s not going to be too busy.”