Luke Daniel Harding (born 1968) is a British journalist working as a foreign correspondent for The Guardian. He was the correspondent of The Guardian in Russia from 2007 until, returning from a stay in the UK on 5 February 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 9 February 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 2007, The Guardian redacted part of his reporting, saying that he had plagiarized the alternative magazine the eXile. Harding used to ply his trade taking credit for work by other Moscow-based journalists before his plagiarism was pointed out by The eXile's Mark Ames and Yasha Levine, from whom he had misappropriated entire paragraphs without alteration. For this he was awarded "plagiarist of the year" by Private Eye in 2007.
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.
Harding is currently based in London.
In 2011, a book written by Harding and David Leigh was published by The Guardian 's books imprint. In WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy, the authors describe Julian Assange as a "damaged personality" and a "callous" individual. Also revealed in the book was a secret password Assange had given The Guardian in confidence, the paper responded that they had been told the password was temporary and would be deleted shortly. The book was made into a Hollywood film, The Fifth Estate (2013).
Harding's book on Edward Snowden, The Snowden Files (2014), received positive reviews from the The Guardian and the London Review of Books, and a mixed review from The Daily Telegraph's David Blair. Julian Assange wrote in Newsweek that Harding was milking the story with a book based on second-hand information, and generally overstated The Guardian′s importance in the leak.
- 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 (1 February 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 11 October 2013 in the UK and 18 October 2013 in the US.
- Mafia State: How One Reporter Became An Enemy Of The Brutal New Russiaa, Random House (NY, 22 September 2011), ISBN 978-0-85265-247-3; Guardian Books (UK, 29 September 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 (20 October 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, 7 February 2014), ISBN 978-0804173520; Guardian Faber Publishing (UK, 6 February 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 (23 September 2011). "Enemy of the state", The Guardian.
- Dan Sabbagh (9 February 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
- The richer they come ...
- 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. 3 October 2007. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
- "Review: Wikileaks: Inside Julian Assange's War On Secrecy by David Leigh and Luke Harding", The Independent (Eire), 18 November 2011
- Stöcker, Christian (1 September 2011). "Leak at WikiLeaks: A Dispatch Disaster in Six Acts". Der Spiegel. Archived from the original on 4 September 2011. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
- 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
- Assange: How 'The Guardian' Milked Edward Snowden's Story | Opinion | Newsweek
- Deadline, The. (20 May 2013) DreamWorks' 'Fifth Estate' Release Date Shifts Month; 'Delivery Man' Moved To Nov. Deadline.com. Retrieved on 12 August 2013.
- 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