Fatima Manji is a British television journalist and newsreader, working for Channel 4 News. Manji became Britain's first hijab-wearing TV newsreader in March 2016.
Manji was educated at Jack Hunt School in Peterborough, and studied Politics at the London School of Economics. 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".
Life and career
In 2012, Manji joined Channel 4 News as a Reporter and became a newsreader in March 2016. "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. Previously, Manji was a reporter, presenter and video journalist for the BBC in the East of England.
In 2015, Manji was a finalist for the Royal Television Society’s Young Journalist of the Year award. Manji was also finalist in Broadcast category of "Words by Women Awards", UK awards for female journalists.
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 attack. Manji responded to MacKenzie in a comment piece for the Liverpool Echo 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. 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". 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".