Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Najwa Kassem, a star television presenter on Arabic news channels Al Arabiya and Al Hadath, passed away on Thursday morning at her home in Dubai.
Major General Khalil Al Mansoori, Assistant Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police for Criminal Investigation Affairs has ruled out any criminal suspicion in the death of Najwa Kassem, as all indications and initial medical examination have confirmed that the death of the Lebanese media, anchor at Al Arabiya, was normal.
She died as a result of a heart attack, he added, noting that Dubai Police have taken the usual procedures that include examination by forensic experts at forensic evidence.
Mansouri confirmed that the Dubai Police’s inspection and investigations found nothing suspicious in the circumstances that preceded the death of the Lebanese media, ruling out any criminal suspicion.
Kassem, 52, was known for her news reporting from the Middle East, particularly the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Colleagues at Al Arabiya expressed shock at her sudden demise. She had been a recognized news anchor across the Arab region throughout her 16 year career at the news channel.
Among her accolades were an award for Best Female Presenter at the Arab Media Festival in 2006, and being nominated by local news magazine Arabian Business as one of the 100 Most Powerful Arab Women in 2011.
Al Arabiya issued a statement that read: “Al Arabiya and Al Arabiya Al Hadath mourn our colleague Najwa Kassem, recalling her long journalistic journey which started with the launch of Al Arabiya in 2003 as a broadcaster and field reporter.”
“May God have mercy on our colleague … and give her family patience and solace.”
Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri expressed his sympathies for Kassem, who previously worked for Lebanese channel Future TV, in a post on Twitter.
“It’s really shocking and saddening that Najwa Kassem left in the glory of [her] giving and youth. She accompanied the journey of Future TV since its foundation and was a shining star on its screen before moving to Dubai, where she continued to excel and succeed. [This is a] loss for us and the Lebanese and Arab media. May God have mercy on Najwa Kassem and my warmest condolences to her family and the family of Al Arabiya and Al Hadath,” Hariri said in a tweet.
Najwa last reported on Dubai’s New Year celebrations. She wrote on her Twitter:
Social media was flooded with tribute to the veteran journalist.
Twitter user @MORTAXL said, “Najwa Kassem, one of the most prominent Arab anchorwoman, passed away today. This is a tragic loss for Middle Eastern TV. RIP.”
Another user said, “She was always bravely covering the truths, rest in peace”
@ghinawi said, D”eath is not the opposite of life, but a part of it. May her soul rest in peace…”
Dubai Press Club (DPC), in collaboration with CNN, concluded a workshop on the importance of delivering the truth in any news story and verifying facts as two key principles of ethical journalism.
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