Fatima Manji (born 1985) is an English television journalist and newsreader,[1] working for Channel 4 News. Manji became Britain's first hijab-wearing TV newsreader in March 2016.[2]

Early life

Manji was born in Peterborough in 1985.[3][4] She lived in Netherton, Peterborough[5] and was educated at Jack Hunt School.[1] She was active at the city's Burton Street Mosque[6] and later studied Politics at the London School of Economics.[7] She "made a really informed career decision at the age of eight. I wanted to be where history is made, I wanted to be in the centre of things", she told The Guardian in December 2016 about wanting to become a journalist. "No one told me I'd be standing in a muddy field talking about floods, in waders. Maybe if they had, I'd have rethought".[8]

Life and career

She began her career in journalism as a trainee at the BBC, reporting for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and later becoming a reporter and presenter for BBC Look East. During her period with the BBC, she investigated hate crime against migrants and pressure on housing services.[9] She also reported for the BBC World Service from Sarajevo, Bosnia.[10] In 2012, Manji joined Channel 4 News as a Reporter and became a newsreader in March 2016.[2] "Channel 4 News is to be commended for pioneering this move, particularly as a mere 0.4% of British journalists are Muslim", wrote Remona Aly, citing a study by City University London, in an article for The Guardian about Manji wearing a hijab, or headscarf.[11] In 2015, Manji presented Britain's first ever alternative election debate featuring young leaders on Channel 4.

In 2015, Manji was a finalist for the Royal Television Society's Young Journalist of the Year award.[12] Manji was also finalist in the Broadcast category of the Words by Women Awards for female journalists.[13] She was named "Media Personality of the Year" at the Asian Media Awards in 2016.

Kelvin MacKenzie column

In July 2016, Kelvin MacKenzie wrote a column for The Sun in which he questioned whether it was appropriate for Manji to present the news wearing a hijab following the 2016 Nice truck attack.[14] Manji responded to MacKenzie in a comment piece for the Liverpool Echo[15] in which she referred to The Sun's coverage of the Hillsborough disaster, and the contentious and inaccurate front page put together by MacKenzie.

Ofcom received 17 complaints about Manji's appearance in a hijab on Channel 4 News shortly after the Nice attack, but found there was no basis in the Broadcasting Code leading them to investigate further.[16] The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) received more than 1,700 complaints over MacKenzie's article. Kelvin MacKenzie was "entitled", IPSO ruled on 19 October 2016, to criticise Manji: "The article did not include a prejudicial or pejorative reference to the complainant on the grounds of her religion".[17] Manji responded to the ruling on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme objecting to the implied suggestion "that I am somehow sympathetic to a perpetrator of a terrorist attack" and commenting "effectively it is" now "open season on minorities, and Muslims in particular".[18]

References

  1. ^ a b "Peterborough's Channel 4 newsreader complains to press regulator about Kelvin MacKenzie column in The Sun". Peterborough Evening Telegraph. 22 August 2004. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b Hjelmgaard, Kim (18 July 2016). "This broadcaster wore a hijab while reporting Nice attack". USA Today. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  3. ^ Lewis, Interview by Tim (18 December 2016). "Fatima Manji: 'It's really important that newsrooms reflect the population'" – via The Guardian.
  4. ^ "Birth records index - Results". www.rootsuk.com. Archived from the original on 14 August 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Procession: Muslims march in tribute to martyr". www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk.
  6. ^ "Religion: Holy day is celebrated". www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk.
  7. ^ "In Focus: Celebration time for those who made the grade". Peterborough Evening Telegraph. 20 August 2004. Retrieved 24 July 2016.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Lewis, Tim (18 December 2016). "Fatima Manji: 'It's really important that newsrooms reflect the population'". The Observer. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  9. ^ Foundation, Magenta. "I Care - Migrant Workers In Peterborough: Hate Crime And Housing (uk) - News - Internet Centre Anti Racism Europe". www.icare.to. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Bosnia-Herzegovina and Tanzania, From Our Own Correspondent - BBC World Service". BBC. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  11. ^ Aly, Remona (20 July 2016). "Kelvin MacKenzie, we're sick of your toxic propaganda. Fatima Manji is admirable". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  12. ^ "Royal Television Society TV journalism awards: full list of winners". The Guardian. 19 February 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  13. ^ Ponsford, Dominic (22 March 2016). "Full list of winners and finalists for the Words by Women journalism awards". Press Gazette.
  14. ^ Sweney, Mark (18 July 2016). "Sun deletes tweet criticising Channel 4 News coverage of Nice truck attack". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  15. ^ Manji, Fatima (19 July 2016). "Fatima Manji: The Truth – why Kelvin MacKenzie's smears won't stop me from doing my job". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  16. ^ Sweney, Mark (22 August 2016). "Complaints about Channel 4 News presenter wearing hijab rejected". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  17. ^ Saul, Heather (19 October 2016). "Kelvin MacKenzie cleared by press watchdog over attack on Fatima Manji wearing a hijab during Channel 4 report". The Independent. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  18. ^ "Kelvin MacKenzie Ipso ruling 'frightening', says Fatima Manji". BBC News. 20 October 2016.