Channel 4 has hit back at a controversial Kelvin MacKenzie newspaper column which criticised the broadcaster for using a Muslim presenter to report on the Nice terror attack.
In a statement the broadcaster said MacKenzie's column – headlined "Why did Channel 4 have a presenter in a hijab fronting coverage of Muslim terror in Nice?" – was "tantamount to inciting religious and even racial hatred".
The Sun earlier in the day removed tweets leading to the column claiming it did not clearly attribute the views to MacKenzie. Mackenzie's piece had asked: “Was it appropriate for [Fatima Manji] to be on camera when there had been yet another shocking slaughter by a Muslim?”
Channel 4 this afternoon issued a statement condemning the article. It read: “The comments published in The Sun today by Mr MacKenzie are offensive, completely unacceptable, and arguably tantamount to inciting religious and even racial hatred.
"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 his comments.”
National Union of Journalists (NUJ) general secretary Michelle Stanistreet had earlier in the day attacked the piece stating: “To suggest that a journalist is incapable of reporting on a terrorist outrage because of the colour of her skin, her religion or the clothes that she wears says all you need to know about the contemptible views of Kelvin MacKenzie.”