a prominent Iranian journalist and writer, was born on 27 July 1947
in Tehran. He started his work as a journalist in 1964. During his
long career he worked as an investigating journalist for different
newspapers. He founded more than 20 newspapers and magazines, none
of them are currently in publication.
1971-79 he was the chief editor of the most influential and popular
daily in Iran "Ayandegan". This newspaper was closed in
1979 on the orders of Ayatollah Khomeini and its editor and senior
staff were all imprisoned. During 1972-79 he also worked as a producer,
writer and speaker for the "National Iranian Radio and Television".
In 1979 Massoud Behnoud became the chief editor of the weekly "Tehran-e
Mosavar", which was shut down by the Islamic government after
30 issues during the crackdown of all non-governmental and independent
Massoud Behnoud was one of the most important and active figures
of the trade union of Iranian journalists.
From 1979 till
1985, after the closure of "Tehran-e Mosavar" as well
as the trade union of Iranian journalists Massoud Behnoud didn´t
have any possibilities to continue his work. From 1981-1985 he led
a low profile existence (more or less in hiding) in Teheran.
In 1985 he was
one of the founders of "Adineh", the most prominent and
influential social and literary monthly in Iran. For more than 13
years Massoud Behnoud was one of the leading members of the editorial
board and published a great number of essays and commentaries in
"Adineh". In his articles he supported the freedom of
speech and of the press. He struggled against censorship and tried
to support the free circulation of information.
Once in 1995
the trade union of Armenian writers invited 22 Iranian writers and
journalist for a visit to Armenistan. Massoud Behnoud was one of
these delegates. In a conspiracy to kill all of the delegates the
Iranian security police tried to divert the bus they were travelling
with on a steep valley. They only survived by chance.
1996 the chief editor of "Adineh", Faraj Sarkohi, was
arrested and in 1998 "Adineh" was closed on the order
of the Islamic court. The imprisonment of Faraj Sarkohi aroused
an International campaign from Reporter sans Frontieres, the International
PEN-Center, amnesty international and other human right organizations
as well as the European Union.
In 1997 Massoud
Behnoud joined a host of other journalists to publish the Teheran
daily "Jameh" His articles and commentaries were received
with a great deal of public interest. With the closure of "Jameh"
he continued his work in the other newly found dailies "Tous",
"Neshat", "Asr-e Azadegan" and the most lately
"Bonyan". All of this newspapers have been closed down.
series of murders in 1999 during which some prominent Iranian writers
and intellectuals have been killed by the security police, Massoud
Behnoud´s name was also discovered on the list of those writers
and intellectuals who hade been earmarked for assassination.
the crackdown of the Iranian newspapers Massoud Behnoud together
with other well known journalists like Mashallah Shamsolvaezin,
Akbar Ganji, Emadeddin Baqi and Ebrahim Nabavi was imprisoned for
a period of 23 months. He had to fine a sum equivalent to 15.000
USD. The court accused him of "having provoked public opinion,
insulting the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic and the commander
of the Revolutionary guards". The sentence against Massoud
Behnoud and other journalists aroused a lot of protest from Reporter
sans Frontieres, the International PEN-Center, amnesty international
and other human right organizations.
a a period of 6 months, two of which he spent in solitary confinement,
Massoud Behnoud was released temporarily on bail of some 40,000
On 1 June 2002
while Massoud Behnoud was engaged in a European lecture tour the
Iranian juridical authorities announced that an order for his arrest
has been once again issued. On base of this order he had to come
back to Iran to serve the remainder of his 16 months term in prison.
It is also possible
that they put him again to court on charge of "having insulted
the Supreme Leader" by his writing. This charge is one of the
most dangerous charges in Iran.