A Toronto television reporter is believed to be the first Canadian presenter to don a Muslim headscarf on one of the city’s main news broadcasters.
Ginella Massa was asked to fill in the anchor for the CityNews 11am broadcast last week and created a buzz after the broadcast ended and she tweeted, âIt’s over! Tonight wasn’t just important to me. I don’t think a woman in a hijab has ever anchored a newscast in Canada.
Massa, 29, said on Friday that she became the first hijab-wearing television reporter in Canada in 2015 while reporting for CTV News in Kitchener, Ont., A town west of Toronto. She returned to Toronto, where she grew up, earlier this year to work as a reporter for CityNews.
Massa acknowledged the personal progress she made in her career after leaving the presenters office, but said it took her editor to stress the larger importance.
âIt wasn’t until my editor said, ‘Hey, great job! Was this 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 just didn’t expect the reaction I received. My phone hasn’t stopped ringing last week, âMassa said.
Its success comes amid heightened concerns about anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States and Europe. During the US presidential election campaign, Donald Trump called for a “total and complete stop of Muslims entering the United States until the representatives of our country can understand” what is going on.
âI have spoken to many women journalists in the United States who work behind the scenes and they have told me that they face multiple challenges trying to get on the air,â Massa said. âWe told them because of their hijab that this is not going to happen. It makes me really sad because they’re being held back by someone else’s idea of ââwhat the audience can and can’t handle.
While the reaction to Massa’s anchor and reporting position has been mostly positive in Canada, she said she has received a handful of negative comments and tweets.
âBut that’s one more reason in today’s climate to see positive images of Muslim women,â she said. âThey are a symbol of Islam when they wear the hijab and it conveys a powerful image. It’s so important to see positive images of us in the media.