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Sun columnist Kelvin MacKenzie's hijab remarks: ITN files official complaint with press watchdog over Fatima Manji comments

Published 22/07/2016

Mr MacKenzie questioned whether a Christian journalist would have been able to display their religion so prominently
Mr MacKenzie questioned whether a Christian journalist would have been able to display their religion so prominently

ITN has filed an official complaint with IPSO over comments made by the former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie about the decision to use a Muslim reporter to cover the Nice attacks.

MacKenzie prompted anger after questioning why, as a Muslim woman who wears a hijab, Fatima Manji was chosen to report on the terror attack in Nice.

In the column, the 69-year-old wrote he “couldn’t believe his eyes” after seeing the journalist, who has been at the station for four years, reporting on the terror attacks.

“Was it appropriate for her to be on camera when there has been yet another shocking slaughter by a Muslim?” he wrote. “Was it done to stick one in the eye of the ordinary viewer who looks at the hijab as a sign of slavery by Muslim women by a male-dominated and clearly violent religion?”

His column on Monday sparked more than 1,700 complaints to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso).

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Ben de Pear, editor of Channel 4 News, said the network could not "stand by" while Ms Manji was the victim of “religious discrimination”.

He said: “Yesterday Channel 4 News correspondent Fatima Manji made an official complaint to Ipso following Kelvin MacKenzie's column published in The Sun on Monday.

“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.

“A further complaint was also made by ITN CEO John Hardie which fully supports and endorses the grounds and reasoning of Fatima's complaint.

“ITN accepts and understands that our reporters and presenters are in the public eye and can expect criticism and comment from many quarters, including newspaper columnists. What it cannot accept is an employee being singled out on the basis of her religion.

“We are not going to simply stand by when an employee is subject to an act of religious discrimination.”

Manji responded in a column for the Liverpool Echo, where she accused Mackenzie of trying to smear Muslims and intimidate them out of public life.

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Forensics officers and policemen look for evidence near a truck on the Promenade des Anglais seafront in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 15, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
Forensics officers and policemen look for evidence near a truck on the Promenade des Anglais seafront in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 15, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
Killer: Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel
A sign reading "Liberty, equality, fraternity, let us unite against barbarism" is placed on July 15, 2016 at a makeshift memorial near the site in Nice where a gunman smashed a truck into a crowd of revellers celebrating Bastille Day, killing at least 84 people. AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVATBORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images
A woman places flowers on July 15, 2016 near the site in Nice where a gunman smashed a truck into a crowd of revellers celebrating Bastille Day, killing at least 84 people. AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVATBORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOT - A woman looks at a truck stand guarded by the police on the Promenade des Anglais seafront in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 15, 2016, hours after it drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display. An attack in Nice where a man rammed a truck into a crowd of people left 84 dead and another 18 in a "critical condition", interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said Friday. An unidentified gunman barrelled the truck two kilometres (1.3 miles) through a crowd that had been enjoying a fireworks display for France's national day before being shot dead by police. / AFP PHOTO / ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULATANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images
People stand on July 15, 2016 in front of flowers and candles placed near the site in Nice where a gunman smashed a truck into a crowd of revellers celebrating Bastille Day, killing at least 84 people. AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVATBORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images
Forensic police work on the scene of a truck attack in Nice, southern France, Friday, July 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
The truck which slammed into revelers late Thursday is seen at the site of the attack in Nice, southern France, Friday, July 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Forensic officers stands near a truck with its windscreen riddled with bullets, that plowed through a crowd of revelers who'd gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice, southern France, Friday, July 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
The truck which slammed into revelers late Thursday, July 14, is seen near the site of an attack in the French resort city of Nice, southern France, Friday, July 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
A forensic officer stands near a van with its windscreen riddled with bullets, that plowed through a crowd of revelers who'd gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice, southern France, Friday, July 15, 2016. At least 80 people were killed before police killed the driver, authorities said. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Forensic officers at the scene of an attack after a truck drove on to the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers who'd gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice, southern France, Friday, July 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Twitter feed video grab courtesy of @harp_detectives of people running away after dozens of people are believed to have been killed when a lorry ploughed into a Bastille Day crowd in Nice. Photo credit: @harp_detectives/PA Wire
Fire department ambulances and vehicles are parked near the scene of an attack after a truck drove on to the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers who'd gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice, southern France, Friday, July 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Christian Alminana)
Police officers, firefighters and rescue workers are seen at the site of an attack on July 15, 2016, after a truck drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice. AFP PHOTO / Valery HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Emergency services vehicles work on the scene after a truck, left, plowed through Bastille Day revelers in the French resort city of Nice, France, Thursday, July 14, 2016. (Sasha Goldsmith via AP)
Authorities investigate a truck after it plowed through Bastille Day revelers in the French resort city of Nice, France, Thursday, July 14, 2016. (Sasha Goldsmith via AP)
Authorities investigate a truck after it plowed through Bastille Day revelers in the French resort city of Nice, France, Thursday, July 14, 2016. (Sasha Goldsmith via AP)
Ambulances line up near the scene of an attack after a truck drove on to the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers who'd gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice, southern France, Friday, July 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
A man runs near the scene of an attack after a truck drove onto the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers who'd gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice, southern France, Friday, July 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Police officers seal off the area of an attack after a truck drove on to the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers who'd gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice, southern France, Friday, July 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Ciaran Fahey)
Police officers carry out checks on vehicles in the centre of French Riviera town of Nice, after a van drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display on July 14, 2016. AFP PHOTO / Valery HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers carry out checks on vehicles in the centre of French Riviera town of Nice, after a van drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display on July 14, 2016. AFP PHOTO / Valery HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers carry out checks on vehicles in the centre of French Riviera town of Nice, after a van drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display on July 14, 2016. AFP PHOTO / Valery HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers stand near a van, with its windscreen riddled with bullets, that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 14, 2016. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers and rescue workers arrive at the scene of an attack on July 14, 2016, after a van ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers stand near a van that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 14, 2016. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers and firefighters arrive near the site of an attack on July 14, 2016, after a van ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers stand near a van that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 14, 2016. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers speak with a soldier after a van that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 14, 2016. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers carry out checks on vehicles in the centre of French Riviera town of Nice, after a van drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display on July 14, 2016. AFP PHOTO / Valery HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers carry out checks on vehicles in the centre of French Riviera town of Nice, after a van drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display on July 14, 2016. AFP PHOTO / Valery HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
A soldier stands guard near the site of an attack in the French Riviera town of Nice, after a van that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display on July 14, 2016. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
A man walks with his hands up as police officers carry out checks on people in the centre of French Riviera town of Nice, after a van that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display on July 14, 2016. AFP PHOTO / Valery HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images

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