Skip to content Skip to navigation

Diaspora Media: Failures, Accomplishments and Future Role

Event Recap

April 24, 2014 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Speaker: 
Massoud Behnoud
Event Sponsor: 
Iranian Studies Program
MASSOUD BEHNOUD

Massoud Behnoud, 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 publications and founded more than 20 newspapers and magazines, none of which are currently in publication. Between 1971-79 he was the chief editor of the most influential and popular daily in Iran, "Ayandegan", that was shut down in 1979 on the orders of Ayatollah Khomeini and it's 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 also shut down by the Islamic government after 30 issues during the crackdown of all non-governmental and independent newspapers.

Between 1972-1979 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. From 1981-1985 he led a low profile existence 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 Armenia. 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 traveling with on a steep valley. 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.

Following a 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 had been earmarked for assassination. After 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. The court accused him of "having provoked public opinion and" insulting the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic and the commander of the Revolutionary guards". The sentence against him and other journalists aroused a lot of protest from Reporters sans Frontieres, the International PEN-Center, amnesty international and other human rights organizations.

After serving a a period of 6 months, two of which he spent in solitary confinement, Massoud Behnoud was released temporarily on bail.

While Massoud Behnoud was engaged in a European lecture tour, on 1 June 2002, the Iranian juridical authorities announced that an order for his arrest had once again been issued. On the baisi of this order he was ordered to return back to Iran to serve the remainder of his 16 months prison term. Masoud Behnoud currently lives in the United Kingdom with his wife and has a Daughter and a son. He is working as a journalist for a number of media organizations, mainly BBC Persian Services, for which he has worked for the past 21 years.

Jordan Hall, Building 420, Room 041

Lecture in Persian

Free and open to the public

Contact Email: 
iranianstudies@stanford.edu