London: Britain’s broadcast regulator today rejected complaints that it was inappropriate for a hijab– wearing Muslim reporter to cover the terrorist attacks in Nice in July.
Ofcom had received 17 complaints about ‘Channel 4 News’ reporter Fatima Manji and today said there are no grounds to launch a full investigation.
“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,” said a spokesperson for Ofcom.
“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,” he added.
The controversy had been triggered after Kelvin MacKenzie, former editor and now columnist at the ‘Sun’ newspaper, attacked the decision in his column and called on readers to complain over the channel’s coverage of the mass killings at Nice in France on July 15.
“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?”
‘Channel 4 News’ editor Ben De Pear had said last month that the channel had made an official complaint to the UK’s Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).
“ITN believes the article was in breach of a number of provisions of the Editor’s Code, in particular discrimination, harassment by intimidation and inaccuracy,” De Pear said.
IPSO has received around 1,700 complaints over MacKenzie’s remarks after Manji co-presented the ‘Channel 4 News’ bulletin – produced by ITN – from London while Jon Snow reported from France during the coverage of the terrorist attacks.
Rupert Murdoch owned ‘Sun’ had distanced itself from MacKenzie’s column, deleting a tweet promoting it.