Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Channel 4 accused of 'tokenism' after putting hijab-wearing Muslim Fatima Manji in anchor's chair the day after Bastille Day truck terror attack

  • Channel 4 News used presenter Fatima Manji to front Bastille Day coverage
  • Minority of viewers took offence to female Muslim presenter wearing hijab
  • Some said it was 'tokenism' on the part of the channel following massacre
  • But hundreds of people have now taken to social media to defend Manji 
A row has broken out over Channel 4's decision to use a Muslim reporter to front its coverage of the Bastille Day terror attack, with some accusing the show of 'tokenism' and others leaping to the presenter's defence.

Fatima Manji, who has been with the programme for four years, presented the coverage of the Bastille Day massacre in Nice on Friday night from the studio in London.

But a minority of viewers took exception to a woman in a hijab hosting the show and took to Twitter to voice their complaints.

Some accused Channel 4 of 'tokenism' - although Manji and Channel 4 have both said she had been scheduled to work that Friday evening before events in Nice took place. 

Journalist Fatima Manji, who has been with the programme for four years, presented the Channel 4 News coverage of the Bastille Day massacre in Nice on Friday night from the studio in London
Some accused Channel 4 of 'tokenism' - although Manji and Channel 4 have both said she had been scheduled to work that Friday evening before events in Nice took place
Some accused Channel 4 of 'tokenism' - although Manji and Channel 4 have both said she had been scheduled to work that Friday evening before events in Nice took place

Lithlad wrote: '#C4News use a Muslim in a headscarf to read the news in the studio. Bless their cotton socks.'

Stevesearcher added: 'Why don't #C4News put a woman in a Burka reading the News and while they are it she should be chaperoned by a male relative beside her!'

But many more Twitter users leaped to the reporter's defence, accusing those who criticised her role as presenter as 'Islamophobic'.

Myriam Fran├žois wrote: 'Shocked by this blatant bigotry directed [at Manji] - Muslim journos apparently not objective - only older white males are.'

Pam Smith said: 'Fatima Manji is very good at presenting the news. What have her clothes got to do with it?'

Manji (pictured presenting Channel 4 news on Friday) faced some criticism online - but also a lot of support
Manji (pictured presenting Channel 4 news on Friday) faced some criticism online - but also a lot of support
But many more Twitter users leaped to the reporter's defence, accusing those who criticised her role as presenter as 'Islamophobic'
But many more Twitter users leaped to the reporter's defence, accusing those who criticised her role as presenter as 'Islamophobic'

Hifzha Shaheen added: 'So, basically Muslim communities are to blame for the Nice attack? Much love to @FatimaManji. Keep doing your thing x.'

WHO IS JOURNALIST FATIMA MANJI?

She joined Channel 4 News in January 2012 and has worked on a number of stories including NatWest banking problems, Apple unwittingly encouraging phone theft and returning to her own school to look at job prospects for school leavers.
She previously worked as a reporter, presenter and video journalist for the BBC in the East of England.
Shalini Austin said: 'Fatima Manji is very good at her job, that is all I care about. Her religion & what she wears is none of my business.'

Frances Ryan added: 'So bloody sorry to see what you're having to deal with today. You are brilliant x.' 

Manji wrote on Twitter following the show: 'To those asking, yes my presenting tonight was long planned - had thought it might be a quiet Friday, instead very tragic.'  

A spokeswoman for Channel 4 News 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 [the] comments.'

Manji wrote on Twitter following the show: 'To those asking, yes my presenting tonight was long planned - had thought it might be a quiet Friday, instead very tragic'
Manji wrote on Twitter following the show: 'To those asking, yes my presenting tonight was long planned - had thought it might be a quiet Friday, instead very tragic'


In his column, Mackenzie wrote: '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?'

The press regulator has received more than 800 complaints about Kelvin MacKenzie's piece relating to accuracy, harassment and discrimination. 

Channel 4 has said that it will complain to the Independent Press Standards Organisation about the completely unacceptable' remarks.

Would the C4 editor have used a Hindu to report on the carnage at the Golden Temple of Amritsar?
Of course not.
Would the station have used an Orthodox Jew to cover the Israeli-Palestine conflict? Of course not.
So why did they do it?
 The suggestion is that Ms Manji, left, who I don’t blame as she is just a pawn in this TV news game, had been rostered on some time ago and presumably the C4 twerps felt to remove her would cause a bigger row.
On that basis why didn’t they send her to Nice instead of Snow? Of course, there was a very good reason for that.
The people of Nice, and the people of France, would view a foreign reporter wearing a hijab in these tense times as massively provocative.

I’m not sure Muslim reporters in secular France are even allowed to wear headscarves on screen.

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