Anyone who has been following the activities of disgraced former Sun editor Kelvin McFilth will know that he tried to stir up hatred against Channel 4 News presenter Fatima Manji recently, on the basis that she had the audacity to wear a headscarf when presenting. This, he declared, was a religious symbol, and Christians, who in Kel’s perverse fantasy world are permanently under attack, are not permitted such things.
McFilth also declared that he was going to make a complaint about Ms Manji to Ofcom, but was, in the event, of less than perfect courage, and chickened out. In any case, those who did complain to Ofcom had their gripes summarily dismissed, as the idea that wearing a headscarf is contravening any part of broadcast rules is fatuous - as would the clear display of any Christian symbol. Kel was the one who was wrong.
Because, although he knew full well what he was doing, he used his Sun column to carry on the incitement against Ms Manji, and of course Channel 4 generally, as his ultimate boss Rupert Murdoch dictates (Rupe wants to undermine Channel 4 to the point where it gets sold off, and therefore weakened, which is his ideal state for broadcasters who take such radical action as providing objective news coverage).
In the meantime, Ms Manji made a complaint to press regulator IPSO, along with around 1,700 others. After all, Kel had deliberately targeted her because of her faith, and had encouraged others to do the same. She therefore complained “that the article had breached clause one (accuracy), clause three (harassment) and clause 12 (discrimination)”. It looked like an open and shut case.
But that would have been to reckon without IPSO’s magical ability - inherited from the discredited PCC that went before - to wipe the arses of the press’ bully boys. And so it came to pass that, despite Alan Moses’ protestations that the regulator is not “toothless”, he showed that it was indeed toothless, as Ms Manji’s complaint was dismissed. Nothing to see here, move along please, all in the garden very wonderful.
Kelvin McFilth’s article, which was the subject of the complaint, said “Was it appropriate for her to be on camera when there has been yet another shocking slaughter by a Muslim?” The discrimination is clear. That he kept on about it and incited others demonstrates harassment. Yet IPSO says, no doubt with a straight face, that there was no prejudicial or pejorative reference on the grounds of her religion. Except there was.
If anyone was still in any doubt that IPSO was a sham press regulator, not fit for purpose, and that it is in hock to the press barons, this judgment should dispel it. Kelvin McFilth has embarked on a deliberate and sustained campaign of incitement against Fatima Manji, he has been demonstrated to have acted thus, and yet IPSO has meekly ignored the fact of the matter and wiped his arse. That is why IPSO is a sham regulator.
Meanwhile, the press can go on harassing Muslim women, safe in the knowledge that they will not suffer any kind of sanction for it. That’s not good enough.