BEIRUT — Lebanese journalist Gisèle Khoury, president of the Samir Kassir Foundation for Media and Cultural Freedom (SKEyes), has died at the age of 62 after a battle with cancer, the foundation announced on the X social media platform on Sunday morning.
"It is with a heavy heart that the Samir Kassir Foundation announces to its friends and lovers of freedom, that its founder and president, journalist Gisèle Khoury, has passed away after a life marked by struggles, commitments and achievements," SKEyes wrote.
Gisèle Khoury was a journalist who had been involved for many years in the struggle for press freedom, both in Lebanon and more widely in the region. She was also the widow of Samir Kassir, a Lebanese journalist and intellectual assassinated in June 2005 in a bombing. He was known for his struggle against the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
"Gisèle Khoury was an exceptional person who was able to overcome all tragedies, and she experienced some in her life, in order to build projects for others, to defend freedom," said Ayman Mehanna, Executive Director of SKeyes, when contacted by L'Orient Today.
"She built a foundation that has become an international reference on the defense of freedom," he added. "What comes next will be difficult, but Gisèle always wanted to move forward, so that's what we're going to do. We're going to keep moving forward," concludes Ayman Mehanna.
Gisèle Khoury began her career as a journalist at the Lebanese channel LBCI as a presenter of cultural programs in 1985. In 2002, she joined the pan-Arab media group MBC and helped launch the Al-Arabiya channel. Between 2003 and 2013, she hosted a political talk show on this channel.
In 2013, Gisèle Khoury joined BBC Arabic, where she hosted The Scene.
"Gisèle Khoury's presence, audacity, professionalism and love of freedom will be missed on the screen," said Joseph Kossaify, president of the Press Editors Syndicate, in a statement reported by the state-run National News Agency.
"Gisèle Khoury ... believed in dialogue ... and the programs she hosted reflected this," he added. "Gisèle's death will have a painful impact on the Lebanese and Arab media and on the cultural landscape," concluded Kossaify.
"Gisèle was a person who stood up for her moral values," said former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora in a statement.
"I have lost a part of myself with the death of a friend and guide," wrote Forces of Change MP Mark Daou.