Tawfik Ghanem

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Retired journalist Tawfik Ghanem was arrested from his home in May 2021 and has been detained on terrorism charges, as authorities have questioned him about his past journalistic work.

Ghanem retired as the regional manager of Turkish news agency Anadolu in 2015, and before that he was the chief editor of regional news website Islam Online and contributed to local newspaper Al-Shorouq, according to one of Ghanem’s lawyers, who spoke with CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal. Ghanem covered local and regional political and cultural stories for those outlets.

On May 21, 2021, state security officers arrested Ghanem from his home in Giza, after raiding it and confiscating his laptop, according to a Facebook statement by Ghanem’s family, news reports, and the journalist’s lawyer. 

Police interrogated Ghanem about his political views and his work with Anadolu and its methods of news gathering, and they were specifically interested in its coverage of Egyptian politics while Ghanem was its regional manager, according to the journalist’s lawyer. Ghanem has not worked in journalism since 2015, the lawyer said. 

On May 26, 2021, the state prosecutor’s office charged Ghanem with membership of a terrorist group, according to Ghanem’s lawyer. As of late 2023, prosecutors had repeatedly renewed the journalist’s detention, and Ghanem had completed more than two and a half years in pretrial detention, exceeding the two-year legal limit for pretrial detention. 

The journalist is held in Tora Prison in Cairo, and he suffers from diabetes, an enlarged prostate, nerve inflammation in his legs, and knee and lower back problems, according to the lawyer. Ghanem’s family is able to visit him in prison and brings him medication as prison authorities are not providing him medical care, the lawyer said.

The Ministry of Interior, which oversees the police, the prison system, and the prosecutor general’s office did not answer CPJ’s emails requesting comment on Ghanem in late 2023.