The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has condemned Kelvin MacKenzie’s commentary in the Sun today suggesting Muslim presenter Fatima Manji should not have fronted Channel 4 News' coverage of the Nice terror attack.
Writing in his column, "Why did Channel 4 have a presenter in a hijab fronting coverage of Muslim terror in Nice?" Mackenzie asked “Was it appropriate for [Fatima Manji] to be on camera when there had been yet another shocking slaughter by a Muslim?”.
He goes on to call Islam “a male-dominated and clearly violent religion” and says the ordinary viewer “looks at the hijab as a sign of the slavery of Muslim women”.
MacKenzie also attacks Channel 4 in his column and calls for the government to sell it off.
“It is coverage like this that raises a question mark over the future of Channel Four. They are a licensed business. Let’s sell that licence to somebody who can supply balance in these difficult times” he writes.
“I do hope that the new Culture Secretary flogs the joint as the country desperately needs the £1billion.”
Responding to the controversial column, NUJ’s general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “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.
“His feigned moral outrage is the language of racial hatred and bigotry, and sadly just the latest incoherent ramblings of a pundit who should have been put out to pasture a long time ago. Journalism in the UK needs more diversity, not less.”
The NUJ went on to cite research by City University in March this year that highlighted how journalism in the UK still remains overwhelmingly white, while Muslims are the most under-represented religious group employed in the media in the UK.