Jean El Laffi, a veteran journalist at FRANCE 24 and beloved head of its Arabic website, died on Tuesday after a battle with cancer. He was 59.
A tireless, ubiquitous and much-loved figure at FRANCE 24, El Laffi accompanied every step of the young news channel since its inception 12 years ago, always addressing colleagues with his broad smile and trademark greeting of “habibi” – the Arabic term for “my dear” or “my beloved”.
A Lebanese and French dual national, El Laffi was born in Beirut in 1958. He worked for years in print, television and radio in Lebanon, Italy and France before joining FRANCE 24, where he combined his experience as a seasoned journalist with an extraordinary talent for team management.
A warm and cheerful presence in the newsroom, he was a friend and father-like figure to all who knew him, none more so than the members of the Arabic-language web team, whom he continued to guide and support even when his health failed him.
In a tribute to El Laffi, FRANCE 24’s director Marc Saïkali stressed his “kindness, gentleness and good humour, and his concern for the well-being of his team”. He added: “Jean was unanimously appreciated, both as a person and a colleague. It has been an honour for us to have worked with him.”
El Laffi is survived by his wife Rita, his daughters Nadia and Thea, and his grandson Solal.
Date created : 2018-03-21