Breaking the stereotypes, a Toronto-based television journalist Ginella Massa became Canada’s first anchor to don a Muslim head scarf at one of the city’s major news channel. Massa was asked to work on the anchor desk for CityNews’ 11 pm broadcast last week.
But her appointment created a buzz after she tweeted, “That’s a wrap! Tonight wasn’t just important for me. I don’t think a woman in hijab has ever anchored a newscast in Canada.”
The 29-year-old said she became Canada’s first hijab-wearing television news reporter in 2015, when she was reporting for CTV News in Kitchener. She then returned to Toronto to take a reporting job at CityNews earlier this year.
Massa recognised the change she made after stepping out of the anchor’s desk. However, it is her editor who pointed out the larger significance. “It wasn’t until my editor said, ‘Hey, great job! Was that a first for Canada? A woman in a hijab?’
And I said yes. “And so I tweeted about it. As much as I knew it was important, I didn’t expect the reaction that I received. My phone hasn’t stopped buzzing for the last week,” she added.
Well, Massa’s feat comes amid heightened concerns in the US and Europe about anti-Muslim sentiment. During the US presidential election campaign, the US President-elect Donald Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
“I’ve talked to many women who are journalists in the US who work behind the scenes and they’ve told me that they face multiple challenges trying to get on air,” said Massa.
“They’ve been told because of their hijab, that’s not going to happen. That makes me really sad because they’re being held back by someone else’s idea of what the public can or cannot handle,” she added.
Although the response to Massa’s anchor stint was mostly positive, she also received a handful of negative remarks.