Luke Daniel Harding (born 1968) is a British journalist working as a foreign correspondentfor The Guardian. He was the correspondent of The Guardian in Russia from 2007 until, returning from a stay in the UK on February 5, 2011, he was refused re-entry to Russia and deported back the same day. The Guardian said his expulsion was linked with his critical articles on Russia, while Russia's foreign ministry said that an extended certificate of foreign correspondence was not obtained in time. After the reversal of the decision on February 9 and the granting of a short-term visa, Harding chose not to seek a further visa extension.
Early life and career
Harding studied English at University College, Oxford. While there he edited the student newspaper Cherwell. He worked for The Sunday Correspondent, the Evening Argus in Brighton and then the Daily Mail before joining The Guardian in 1996.
In February 2011 Harding was refused re-entry into Russia. He became the first foreign journalist to be expelled from Russia since the end of the Cold War. The Guardian said his expulsion was linked with his unflattering coverage of Russia, including speculation about Vladimir Putin's wealth and Putin's knowledge of the London assassination of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko. The director of Index on Censorship, John Kampfner, said "The Russian government's treatment of Luke Harding is petty and vindictive, and evidence – if more was needed – of the poor state of free expression in that country." Elsa Vidal, head of the European and Central Asia desk at the media freedom watchdog, was quoted in The Washington Post as saying: "This is a serious and shocking step, unprecedented since the Cold War [...] It's an attempt to force correspondents working for foreign media in Moscow to engage in self-censorship."
The expulsion preceded a visit to Britain by Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, which led to suggestions from Labour MP Chris Bryant that the British government might rescind Lavrov's invitation. On 9 February Russia reversed the decision not to re-admit him although it only granted him a short term visa. Harding chose not to seek a further visa and returned to the UK in February. Harding has said that during his time in Russia he was the subject of largely psychological harassment by the Federal Security Service, whom he alleges were unhappy at the stories he wrote.
In an interview with the BBC during his visit to London in February 2011, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was asked about Harding's entry to Russia:
|“||He was visiting areas where he knew he must get a special permission to visit. He recognizes that this is something that he should have done differently. In spite of this, when he requested for his visa to be extended until May this year – so his kids could finish the school year. This was granted and he was issued an extended certificate of foreign correspondent, he did not pick it up, he urgently moved to London though this certificate was ready and if he wants to work in Russia he must ... resolve this issue and get this certificate and we announced yesterday that there would be no problem with his coming here provided again that he wants to work in Russia. If he wants to discuss this issue endlessly through the media, this would be his choice." ||”|
Harding is currently based in London.
Harding's book on Edward Snowden, The Snowden Files (2014), received positive reviews from the The Guardian and the London Review of Books, who called it "a super-readable, thrillerish account of the events surrounding the reporting of the documents". Conversely, The Daily Telegraph's David Blair wrote: "Harding’s story crackles with verve, but complexity and nuance are banished. In particular, the real dilemmas of intelligence work are ignored."
The Snowden Files was initially criticised by Snowden associate, journalist Glenn Greenwald, when he had only read extracts from Harding's book. Later, after reading the whole book, he conceded that it did not trash Snowden. On February 14, 2014 Greenwald told the Financial Times: "They are purporting to tell the inside story of Edward Snowden but it is written by someone who has never met or even spoken to Edward Snowden. Luke came here and talked to me for half a day without [my] realising that he was trying to get me to write his book for him. I cut the interview off when I realised what he was up to." The Financial Times has since amended the article stating: "Harding insists that when he spoke to Greenwald in Rio, he made it very clear he was doing research for his book on Snowden."
- The Liar: Fall of Jonathan Aitken, Penguin Books (1997), co-written with David Leigh and David Pallister. An account of how the British politician Jonathan Aitken sued the Guardian newspaper over sleaze allegations and was jailed for perjury.
- WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy, Guardian Books (February 1, 2011), ISBN 978-0-85265-239-8, co-written with David Leigh. A biography of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy and Daniel Domscheit-Berg's WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange and the World’s Most Dangerous Website was adapted into a screenplay by Josh Singer, and became the film, The Fifth Estate. Co-produced by DreamWorks and Participant Media, it was directed by Bill Condon and starred Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Brühl. It was released on October 11, 2013 in the UK and October 18, 2013 in the US.
- Mafia State: How One Reporter Became An Enemy Of The Brutal New Russiaa, Random House (NY, September 22, 2011), ISBN 978-0-85265-247-3; Guardian Books (UK, September 29, 2011), ISBN 978-0-85265-247-3. An account of his experience in Russia and interactions with the FSB. The title "mafia state" comes from one of the American diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks.
- Libya: Murder in Benghazi and the Fall of Gaddafi (October 20, 2012), co-written with Martin Chulov. Short e-book, account of the moment of Gaddafi's capture and the current state of Libya.
- The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man, Vintage Books (NY, February 7, 2014), ISBN 978-0804173520; Guardian Faber Publishing (UK, February 6, 2014), ISBN 978-1783350353. Harding tells Edward Snowden's story from the day he left his girlfriend in Honolulu carrying a hard drive full of secrets, to the weeks of his secret-spilling in Hong Kong, to his battle for asylum and his exile in Moscow.
- ^a Published in the US as Expelled
- Luke Harding (September 23, 2011). "Enemy of the state", The Guardian.
- Dan Sabbagh (February 9, 2011). "Russia U-turns over Guardian journalist's deportation", The Guardian'.'
- Transcript of the Russian Foreign Minister S.Lavrov’s interview with the BBC, Moscow, February 9, 2011.
- Luke Harding's contributor page, theguardian.com
- Guardian's Moscow correspondent expelled from Russia, The Guardian
- Russia expels U.K. reporter Luke Harding, who covered corruption, The Washington Post
- Call to halt Russian foreign minister's visit after Guardian journalist expelled, The Guardian
- Luke Harding (23 September 2011). "Enemy of the state". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 25 September 2011.
- "Luke Harding". London: The Guardian. October 3, 2007. Retrieved 2012-06-06.
- The Snowden Files by Luke Harding – review | Books | The Guardian
- Daniel Soar reviews ‘The Snowden Files’ by Luke Harding · LRB 20 February 2014 - The London Review of Books
- The Snowden Files by Luke Harding, review - Telegraph
- ‘The Snowden Files,’ by Luke Harding - NYTimes.com
- Geoff Dyer (14 February 2014). "Lunch with the FT: Glenn Greenwald". ft.com.
- Deadline, The. (2013-05-20) DreamWorks' 'Fifth Estate' Release Date Shifts Month; 'Delivery Man' Moved To Nov. Deadline.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-12.
- Mafia State by Luke Harding - review, The Guardian
- guardianshorts, Libya: Murder in Benghazi and the Fall of Gaddafi
- Luke Harding on Twitter
- Luke Harding at the Internet Movie Database
- Column archives at The Guardian
- Article archive at Journalisted
- Profile at United World Colleges