MPs write to IPSO after Kelvin MacKenzie cleared of attacking Fatima Manji

MPs have written a letter to the Press watchdog highlighting their concerns over its “independence” after a Sun columnist and board member criticised a Muslim reporter wearing the hijab.

Trevor Kavanagh, the Sun’s former Political Editor, came to the defence of Kelvin MacKenzie, his “old boss”, after the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) dismissed complaints about his column criticising Channel 4 news reporter Fatima Manji.

In a column in July, MacKenzie who was a former Sun editor branded Islam a “violent religion” and attacked Manji for wearing the hijab while reporting on the terrorist attack in Nice. His piece resulted in more than 1,900 complaints.

On Monday, Kavanagh wrote that Manji had “made a fool of herself” since wearing the hijab was a “provocative gesture”. “She knew precisely what she was doing,” he concluded.

Now a cross-party group of parliamentarians and peers have written to Ipso to express “great concern” that Kavanagh made the comments while also sitting on the regulator’s board.

letter-ipsoIn a letter to IPSO, they wrote: “We are very concerned that Mr. Trevor Kavanagh has publicly attacked a complainant, which could deter future complainants, and that he continues to sit on the board of IPSO.”

Ipso has said that while Kavanagh sits on its board he is not a member of the Complaints Committee which passes judgements. An IPSO spokesman said: “Trevor Kavanagh is not a member of our Complaints Committee and has no involvement in any rulings made by IPSO. The views expressed by Mr Kavanagh in his column following the IPSO ruling on Manji v The Sun were made in a personal capacity and do not represent the view of IPSO”.

Manji has warned Muslim and other minority groups in Britain are now “open to attack” after the ruling.

Responding to IPSO’s decision last Thursday, Manji revealed that members of staff at The Sun had contacted her – and expressed how the were “embarrassed” and “ashamed” by the incident.

“I was contacted privately by individuals who work at The Sun and at News UK to say they were embarrassed and ashamed that Kelvin MacKenzie was allow to peddle such hatred,” she told the BBC’s Today programme.

“But they had to do it in private, because while the Sun talks about freedom of speech I don’t think it would be very happy to extend that privilege to its journalists who might want to publicly criticise its position in this scandal.

“In a civilised society, we accept that freedom of speech has limits and you cannot just use your powerful platform to publicly attack someone and effectively incite hatred against them and smear them as a terrorist sympathiser, which is what Kelvin MacKenzie did.

“I do wear the headscarf as a symbol of my religious faith and it in no way affects my reporting.”

She added it had been “upsetting” to open the Sun and find a large picture of herself printed next to the headline “Muslim terror attack”.

“It was upsetting enough to find myself the latest victim to Kelvin Mackenzie’s tirade.

“But now to know that has been given the green light by the press regulator and that effectively it is open season on minorities, and Muslims in particular, is frightening.”


As you’re here…

5Pillars have one humble request from you…

Thousands of Muslims around the world visit our website for news every day. Due to the unfortunate reality of covering Muslim-related news in a heightened Islamophobic environment, our advertising and fundraising revenues have decreased significantly.

5Pillars is editorially and financially independent, with no sectarian or political allegiance to any particular group or movement. Our journalism has been exclusively grassroots focussed and our sole purpose is to defend Islam and Muslims in the media.

This makes us unique in comparison to other online Muslim media outlets who are neither independently regulated by a reputable body nor are they managed by qualified journalists.

Our journalism takes time, money and effort to deliver. But we do it because we believe we have a duty to Allah (swt).

You may not agree or like everything we publish. However, which other Muslim news site that is run by experienced journalists will take on the responsibility of being a shield for Islam and Muslims in the media?

If you follow 5Pillars, and you understand its importance in today’s climate, then please support us for as little as £5 a month, it only takes a minute to make a donation. Jazakallah khayran.

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:“The best deeds are those done regularly, even if they are small.” [Ibn Mājah]



Shares 0

Add your comments below