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Luke Daniel Harding (born 1968) is a British foreign correspondent working for The Guardian newspaper. 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, education 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, said: "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 responded to a question concerning Harding's entry to Russia as follows:
"I looked into the case of Luke Harding when William Hague called me. Indeed he had some problems with his stay in Russia in the past. 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 just, you know, 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. On, you know, this entire incident it’s a technical situation that must be resolved if he wants it to be resolved, we are ready for this. But when people say, I read some comments in the British media today – including in the Guardian – that the absence of this accreditation card is not the reason for not allowing to enter because he has a valid visa. I know for sure that UK legislation and Anglo-Saxon countries legislation in general, be it US, UK or Canada clearly states availability of a visa does not mean you can enter and the decision whether you can or not is always taken is always taken by the immigration officer who looks at your passport. So there is nothing unusual. Again, it is a technical matter. If he wants it to be resolved and if he wants to work in Russia as long as his visa allows, he’s welcome to do so." 
Harding is currently based at the Guardian's office in London.
Harding's 2014 take on Edward Snowden, The Snowden Files, was fiercely criticised by journalist Glenn Greenwald, who said, "It is a bullshit book. 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." At the time he said this, Greenwald had only read extracts from Harding's book. Later, after reading the whole book, he conceded that it did not trash 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 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.
Notes and References
- ^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 | The Guardian
- The richer they come ..., The Guardian
- "Luke Harding Hacks The Exile!" The Exile
- 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. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
- "Luke Harding". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-06-06.
- 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