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Journalist Johann Hari returns Orwell Prize

15th September 2011

Independent journalist Johann Hari has returned the Orwell Prize for Journalism following an investigation that found he had plagiarised quotes in some of his articles.

He was suspended by the newspaper two months ago after it was claimed that Hari had lifted quotes from other publications when publishing his own interviews with people including fellow journalist Gideon Levy.

In this case, it was discovered that Hari had used excerpts from an interview with Levy originally conducted by Israel's Haaretz newspaper.

According to Hari, in this instance and others in which he was accused of plagiarism, he had used passages from other interviews 'so that the reader understands their point as clearly as possible'.

On his blog, he added: 'I have only ever done this where the interviewee was making the same or very similar point to me in the interview that they had already made more clearly in print.'

In an online statement, the journalist apologised to readers, colleagues and others hurt by his actions, adding that he was returning the Orwell Prize he won in 2008 'as an act of contrition'.

Hari, who also admitted to creating a bogus Wikipedia account to edit his profile and alter those of others, will now take four months' unpaid leave and also attend a journalism course.

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