In 1984, she received her BA in political science, and in 1986 her MA in Political Science from the American University in Cairo. She worked as a news correspondent with U.S. News and World Report and Reuters, TV researcher, and associate producer in Tunisia, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Algeria, and Egypt between 1984 and 1990. As a correspondent, El-Tahri covered politics in the Middle East.
In 1990, El-Tahri started directing and producing documentaries for French television, and for the BBC since 1995. In 1992 she filmed Osama bin Laden's training camps in Sudan. She also provided professional support on four of the Steps for the Future films in 2001. The documentary, The House of Saud, appeared on the BBC in 2004 and on PBS in 2005. Her most recent documentary, 'Behind the Rainbow', was screened during the 53rd BFI London Film Festival in 2009.
- The Koran and the Kalashnikov
- L'Afrique en morceaux (2000)
- The Price of Aid/Les maux de la faim (2003)
- The House of Saud (2004)
- Cuba! Africa! Revolution! (2007)
- Behind the Rainbow (2009)
- Egypt's Modern Pharaohs (2015)
- Claire Diao (5 February 2016). "Jihan El-Tahri, cinéaste du passé recomposé". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 20 May 2018.
- Thérèse-Marie Deffontaines et Mouna Naïm (19 September 2004). "L'imbroglio saoudien". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 20 May 2018.
- "LFF programme". 21 September 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
- Pierre Hazan (27 May 1998). "Le conflit israélo-arabe raconté par ceux qui ont fait son histoire". Le Temps (in French). Retrieved 20 May 2018.
- Zegna-Rata, Olivier (23 February 2001). "L'Afrique en morceaux : une leçon d'histoire immédiate". Afrik (in French). Retrieved 10 March 2012.
- El-Tahri, Jihan (2015). "Egypt's Modern Pharaohs" (in German, English, and French). Retrieved 17 July 2015.