Faith-In-Your-Face Newscast Comes to Canada
Aggressive Multiculturalism at Work
Ginella Massa Becomes First Hijab-Wearing Journalist To Anchor A Major Canadian Newscast
The CityNews reporter took the anchor seat during the network's late-night newscast on November 17.
“It feels really amazing to be the first hijabi (sic) reporter in Canada, but I certainly hope I’m not the last," she said.
Massa received a wave of elation from fans and supporters after her newscast.
The Huffington Post, November 21, 2016
English media's celebratory approval of this milestone event was immediate and predictable. Quebec's, in the person of journalist Sophie Durocher, offered a more considered response.
On November 17, Ginella Massa became the first hijab-wearing woman in Canada to deliver a newscast. It happened at the Toronto station CityNews.
Massa wrote on Facebook: "It's a great feeling to be the first woman and anchorperson in Canada to wear the hijab and I sincerely hope I will not be the last."
I ask myself: how Quebecers would react if Sophie Thibault or Julie Marcoux (television reporters and anchors) wore the hijab?
What next, the chador?
After presenting her newscast, Ms. Massa (a Catholic who converted to Islam) wrote on social media: "I look forward to the day when it will not be a big deal for someone who looks like me to present a newscast. "
How would we react if a veiled woman reported on Bill 62 on religious neutrality in the public services? Or a story about the lawsuit between a Muslim school and a militant anti-Islamist?
After the hijab, what about a news anchor wearing the chador?
And since we are in Justin Trudeau's Canada, how long before a woman wearing the niqab presents the 10 o'clock news? Or a burqa?
When we speak of diversity on screen, I am all for more blacks, Asians, Latinos, Arabs, etc., but the religious orientation of a newscast anchor is absolutely not a reflection of diversity.
The online site Yahoo Style wrote that Ms. Massa's newscast represented "An important step forward for her and all women of the Muslim faith."
Muslim women are fighting against the veil. And to associate a woman wearing the veil to "all women of the Muslim faith" is a stretch and bad journalism.
Objectivity is the first quality we look for, no, that we demand of a news anchor. We don't care about his or her political views, whether they are for or against abortion, who they voted for. And we certainly don't need to know their religion ...
We would never accept that a news anchor read the news wearing the badge of a political party; why should we put up with news anchors displaying their faith close up.
The same requirement would apply to a newsreader wearing a kirpan, a cross around their neck, or a pastafarian a colander on his head ...
Sophie Durocher, Journal the Montréal, Nov 23, 2016 (my translation)
Bernard Payeur November 25, 2016