A distinguished journalist of almost 30 years and television presenter at Saudi Arabian news channel Al Arabiya, Najwa Qassem passed away at the age of 51 in her home in Dubai on Thursday, January 2 from an unexpected heart attack.
“Al Arabiya network mourns Najwa Kassem, our colleague and journalist, who died this morning at her home in Dubai,” reads an official statement from the channel released earlier today. “May God have mercy on our colleague and grant her family patience and solace.”
The Lebanese news veteran, distinguished for her coverage of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, soon became known as an expert on the Middle East after reporting on the region for more than two decades. As part of the Al Arabiya team in Dubai since its launch in 2003, Qassem rose to acclaim from field reporter to senior presenter and anchor of various political segments. Throughout her illustrious career, Qassem reaped continuous recognition, winning an award for the best female presenter at the Arab Media Festival in 2006 and being named one of the 100 most powerful women in the Arab world by Arabian Business Magazine in 2011.
— العربية (@AlArabiya) January 2, 2020
Condolences, fond memories, and touching tributes flooded Qassem’s Twitter page, with many of her 215K followers—including political representatives, media personalities, and—sharing photos and messages of the Arab broadcaster.
Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri and owner of the outlet Qassem worked in Lebanon shared that she “shone on the screen as a glowing star. A loss for us and the Lebanese Arab media” while Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UAE and previous general manager of Al Arabiya News Network, Turki Aldakhil, tweeted “Farewell, a lady of ethics, literature and professionalism… goodbye everyone’s friend.”
In an era of “fake news” and public outcry against the mass media, Qassem’s unfiltered legacy will live on in a spotlight of fearless journalism not only in the Middle East but also internationally.