Manji was born in Peterborough in 1985. She lived in Netherton, Peterborough and was educated at Jack Hunt School She was active at the city's Burton Street Mosque and later 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
She began her journalistic career as a trainee at the BBC, reporting for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and later becoming a reporter and presenter for BBC Look East. During her time at the BBC, she investigated hate crime against migrants and pressure on housing services. She also reported for the BBC World Service from Sarajevo, Bosnia. 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. In 2015, Manji presented Britain's first ever alternative election debate featuring young leaders on Channel 4.
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. She was named "Media Personality of the Year" at the Asian Media Awards in 2016.
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".
- "Peterborough's Channel 4 newsreader complains to press regulator about Kelvin MacKenzie column in The Sun". Peterborough Evening Telegraph. 22 August 2004. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
- Hjelmgaard, Kim (18 July 2016). "This broadcaster wore a hijab while reporting Nice attack". USA Today. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
- Lewis, Interview by Tim (18 December 2016). "Fatima Manji: 'It's really important that newsrooms reflect the population'" – via The Guardian.
- "Birth records index - Results". www.rootsuk.com.
- "PROCESSION: Muslims march in tribute to martyr". www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk.
- "RELIGION: Holy day is celebrated". www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk.
- "IN FOCUS: Celebration time for those who made the grade". Peterborough Evening Telegraph. 20 August 2004. Retrieved 24 July 2016.[permanent dead link]
- Lewis, Tim (18 December 2016). "Fatima Manji: 'It's really important that newsrooms reflect the population'". The Observer. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
- Foundation, Magenta. "I CARE - MIGRANT WORKERS IN PETERBOROUGH: HATE CRIME AND HOUSING (uk) - News - Internet Centre Anti Racism Europe". www.icare.to. Retrieved 2017-08-15.
- "Bosnia-Herzegovina and Tanzania, From Our Own Correspondent - BBC World Service". BBC. Retrieved 2017-08-15.
- Aly, Remona (20 July 2016). "Kelvin MacKenzie, we're sick of your toxic propaganda. Fatima Manji is admirable". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
- "Royal Television Society TV journalism awards: full list of winners". The Guardian. 19 February 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
- Ponsford, Dominic (22 March 2016). "Full list of winners and finalists for the Words by Women journalism awards". Press Gazette.
- Sweney, Mark (18 July 2016). "Sun deletes tweet criticising Channel 4 News coverage of Nice truck attack". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
- Manji, Fatima (19 July 2016). "Fatima Manji: The Truth – why Kelvin MacKenzie's smears won't stop me from doing my job". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
- Sweney, Mark (22 August 2016). "Complaints about Channel 4 News presenter wearing hijab rejected". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
- Saul, Heather (19 October 2016). "Kelvin MacKenzie cleared by press watchdog over attack on Fatima Manji wearing a hijab during Channel 4 report". The Independent. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
- "Kelvin MacKenzie Ipso ruling 'frightening', says Fatima Manji". BBC News. 20 October 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2016.