Johann Hari

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Johann Hari
Johann Hari.jpg
Hari in 2011
Born Johann Eduard Hari
(1979-01-21) 21 January 1979 (age 38)
Glasgow, Scotland
Nationality British
Alma mater King's College, Cambridge
Occupation Writer and journalist

Johann Eduard Hari (born 21 January 1979) is an English writer and journalist.

He wrote columns for The Independent (London) and The Huffington Post and made contributions to other publications. In 2011, he was suspended from The Independent after charges of plagiarism. He also publicly apologised for making improper edits to several of his critics' English Wikipedia pages under a pseudonym.[1][2] The news led to his returning his 2008 Orwell Prize.[3]

Early life[edit]

According to Hari, he attended the John Lyon School, an independent school affiliated with the Harrow School, and then Woodhouse College, a state sixth-form in Finchley.[4] Hari's website says he graduated from King's College, Cambridge in 2001 with a double first in social and political sciences.[5]


In 2000 he was joint winner of The Times Student News Journalist of the Year award for his work on the Cambridge student newspaper Varsity. After university he joined the New Statesman, where he worked between 2001 and 2003, and then wrote two columns a week for The Independent. At the 2003 Press Gazette Awards, he won Young Journalist of the Year.[6]

He appeared regularly as an arts critic on the BBC Two programme The Review Show, and he was a book critic for Slate. In 2009 he was named by The Daily Telegraph as one of the most influential people on the left in Britain.[7]

In January 2012, Hari announced that he was writing a book on the war on drugs, which was subsequently published as Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.[8][9]

2011 scandals[edit]

In June 2011 Hari was accused of plagiarism through the use of unattributed quotations in interviews, by using previously published quotes in place of his interviewees' recorded answers. The Orwell Prize, which he had won in 2008, was withdrawn following a comparison between one of the articles for which he had won the award and the original Der Spiegel article on which it was based. Hari was also revealed to have used Wikipedia to libel journalists who were publicly critical of him.[10][11][12] Hari later wrote a public apology in The Independent. The British magazine The Economist questioned Hari's sincerity in accepting blame.[13] Hari left The Independent shortly after.[14]


Allegations against Hari of journalistic impropriety were made in the magazine Private Eye in 2003.[15] In 2011 bloggers at Deterritorial Support Group and Brian Whelan, editor of Yahoo! Ireland, alleged plagiarism by comparing Hari's interviews with previous interviews by other journalists and previous written works by his interview subjects. The story was taken up by The Guardian,[16] The Telegraph,[17] and The Washington Post.[18] Initially, Hari denied allegations of plagiarism, maintaining that in presenting interview subjects' previous writing as part of the interview, he was not passing off someone else's thoughts as his own.[19] Later, in The Independent,[20] Hari said his use of unattributed quotes was only a clarification. Reviewing this defence, The Guardian's media law consultant focused on copyright issues.[21]

The Guardian later reported that a 2009 interview with Afghan women's rights activist Malalai Joya appeared to represent quotations from her book Raising my Voice as though they were spoken directly to Hari in his interview with her.[22] The newspaper's former editor, Peter Preston, wrote that Hari had been foolish, but not dishonest as his attackers alleged.[23] In July 2011, Hari was suspended from The Independent for two months[24] "pending investigation" by Andreas Whittam Smith.[25]

Orwell Prize withdrawal[edit]

In June 2011, the Media Standards Trust announced that they recognised the potential of allegations of plagiarism to damage the reputation of the Orwell Prize,[26] which Hari (the youngest recipient[27]) had been awarded in 2008, and instructed the Council of the Orwell Prize to take action[28] to examine the allegations. A month later the spokesman for the Council of the Orwell Prize announced that it had "arrived at a clear and unanimous decision" as to whether Hari would be allowed to retain the prize he had been awarded in 2008. Public announcement was delayed after the Independent had "requested that the council consider further representations by Johann Hari before announcing the decision",[29] which could not be made while the Independent inquiry was ongoing.

In July 2011, both Private Eye and Damian Thompson in his Telegraph blog accused Hari of inventing an atrocity for his Orwell Prize-winning article on the Central African Republic. Thompson said that this "horrified the charity so much that it complained to Simon Kelner, the editor of The Independent".[30][31][32]

In September 2011 Johann Hari announced that, though he stood by the articles which won the Orwell Prize in 2008, he would be returning it as an act of contrition for the errors he had made elsewhere.[33] The return of the plaque by courier was confirmed by the Council of the Orwell Prize.[34] Later the Council confirmed that the Orwell Prize would have been withdrawn had Hari not returned it, because after reviewing one particular article, 'How multiculturalism is betraying women', "The Council concluded that the article contained inaccuracies and conflated different parts of someone else's story (specifically, a report in Der Spiegel). The Council ruled that the substantial use of unattributed and unacknowledged material did not meet the standards expected of Orwell Prize-winning journalism".[3] The magazine Political Quarterly, which had paid the prize in 2008, suggested that rather than returning the prize money, Hari make a donation to the writers' association English PEN in honor of George Orwell.[3]

Wikipedia editing[edit]

In July 2011 Nick Cohen in The Spectator[35] wrote that he had been attacked on Wikipedia by a "David Rose" following a dispute with Johann Hari, as had Telegraph columnist Cristina Odone,[36] and Oliver Kamm, a leader writer for The Times.[37] Cohen also wrote that Hari's own Wikipedia entry had been edited by Rose "to make him seem one of the essential writers of our times".[35] "David Rose" was later shown to be Johann Hari himself.[38]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Deans, Jason; Kiss, Jemima (12 July 2011). "Johann Hari suspended from the Independent following plagiarism row". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  2. ^ Hari, Johann (15 September 2011). "Johann Hari: A personal apology". The Independent. London. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "The Orwell Prize and Johann Hari". The Orwell Prize. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Hari, Johann. "A simple lesson on schools: Money works". Retrieved 11 July 2010. 
  5. ^ "About Johann – Johann Hari". Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Spanner, Huw (November 2004). "Let The Fiery Columns Glow". Third Way Magazine. pp. 16–19. 
  7. ^ Dale, Iain; Brivati, Brian (27 September 2009). "Top 100 most influential Left-wingers: 100-51". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  8. ^ Hari, Johann (20 January 2012). "Update". Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Chivers, Tom (19 September 2011). "We Lefties shouldn't be so quick to forgive Johann Hari". The Daily Telegraph blog. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  11. ^ Seymour, Richard (16 September 2011). "The Johann Hari debacle". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  12. ^ Allen Green, David (15 September 2011). "The tale of Mr Hari and Dr Rose". New Statesman. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  13. ^ "The depressing tale of Johann Hari". The Economist. London. 15 September 2011. 
  14. ^ "Johann Hari leaves The Independent". The Independent. 21 January 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  15. ^ Thompson, Damian (30 June 2011). "Johann Hari: the back story". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  16. ^ Sabbagh, Dan (28 June 2011). "Johann Hari denies accusations of plagiarism". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  17. ^ O'Neill, Brendan (29 June 2011). "Johann Hari and the tyranny of the 'good lie'". The Telegraph blog. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  18. ^ Flock, Elizabeth (28 June 2011). "Johann Hari denies he plagiarized, sparking mockery campaign". The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  19. ^ Hari, Johann. "Interview etiquette". Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  20. ^ Hari, Johann (29 June 2011). "Johann Hari: My journalism is at the centre of a storm. This is what I have learned". The Independent. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  21. ^ Banks, David (28 June 2011). "Independent writer's admission highlights news copyright issues". Guardian Media Blog. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  22. ^ Dowell, Ben (1 July 2011). "Johann Hari: more plagiarism allegations". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  23. ^ Preston, Peter (3 July 2011). "Johann Hari's anonymous attackers have spun foolishness into dishonesty". The Observer. London. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  24. ^ McAthy, Rachel (12 July 2011). "Orwell Prize Council begins investigation into Johann Hari|Johann Hari suspended for two months pending investigation". Mousetrap Media. 
  25. ^ Deans, Jason (13 July 2011). "Journalist suspended over plagiarism row". The Guardian. p. 10. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  26. ^ "Media Standards Trust response to Johann Hari allegations" (Press release). Media Standards Trust. 28 June 2011. 
  27. ^ "Johann Hari". Intelligence Squared. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  28. ^ Gunter, Joel (30 June 2011). "Orwell Prize Council begins investigation into Johann Hari". Mousetrap Media. 
  29. ^ Pugh, Andrew (25 July 2011)."Announcement on Hari's Orwell Prize decision delayed". Press Gazette (London).
  30. ^ Thompson, Damian (20 July 2011). "Johann Hari 'invented quotes' in report from Central African Republic, says charity that took him there". The Daily Telegraph blog. 
  31. ^ Thompson, Damian (27 July 2011). "Johann Hari in Africa: the crucial emails". The Daily Telegraph blog.
  32. ^ Pareene, Alex (27 July 2011). "Johann Hari suddenly in much more trouble". Salon. 
  33. ^ Hari, Johann (14 September 2011). "A personal apology". The Independent.
  34. ^ "Press Statement: The Orwell Prize for Journalism 2008" (Press release). The Orwell Prize. Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
  35. ^ a b Cohen, Nick (9 July 2011). "Diary". The Spectator. London. Retrieved 28 July 2011. 
  36. ^ Odone, Cristina Odone (11 July 2011). "I fell out with Johann Hari – then 'David Rose' started tampering viciously with my Wikipedia entry". The Daily Telegraph blog. Retrieved 28 July 2011. 
  37. ^ Thompson, Damian (11 July 2011). "The scandal that will not go away". The Daily Telegraph blog. Archived from the original on 25 August 2011. 
  38. ^ Green, David Allan (15 September 2011). "The tale of Mr Hari and Dr Rose". New Statesman. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  39. ^ "AIUK Media Awards: Winners and Nominees 2010". Amnesty International UK. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  40. ^ "Johann Hari picks up Martha Gellhorn Prize". Press Gazette blog. London. 24 May 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  41. ^ "Independent journalist wins Stonewall award". The Independent. London. 7 November 2009. Retrieved 7 November 2009. 
  42. ^ "Previous Winners 2009". Comment Awards. Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  43. ^ "Winners announced for Environmental Press Awards". Press Gazette. London. 26 November 2008. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  44. ^ a b "Johann Hari". BBC News. 5 May 2006. Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  45. ^ "British Press Awards: Past Winners". Press Gazette. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  46. ^ Morris, Sally (15 June 2000). "Future Perfect". The Times. London. 

External links[edit]