Hari suspended over plagiarism claims


The London Independent newspaper has suspended columnist Johann Hari after allegations of plagiarism.

Its editor Chris Blackhurst said: “Johann Hari has been suspended for two months pending the outcome of an internal inquiry. We have no further comment to make.”

His critics have accused him of taking quotations from books and other journalists’ interviews and passing them off as his own.

Writing on his blog after the allegations first surfaced, Hari said the accusation was “totally false” but added he did “have something to apologise for”.

He said: “I did not and never have taken words from another context and twisted them to mean something different - I only ever substituted clearer expressions of the same sentiment, so the reader knew what the subject thinks in the most comprehensible possible words.”

The allegations are not connected to the current phone hacking scandal which has rocked News International.

Hari, who was born in Glasgow but grew up in London, has written for newspapers including the New York Times, Le Monde and the Sydney Morning Herald.

He won the Orwell Prize for political writing in 2008 and in 2010 was shortlisted for Feature Writer of the Year at the British Press Awards.

The organisers of the Orwell Prize announced they were holding an inquiry into the 2008 prize after the allegations were made public.