Johann Eduard Hari (born 21 January 1979) is a Swiss-British writer and journalist.[1] He has written for a number of publications including The Independent (London) and The Huffington Post and has written books on the topic of the war on drugs, the monarchy, and depression. He also gave a TED talk on the topic of addiction.[2] His journalism has been the subject of accusations of plagiarism, due to numerous cases of him including quotes from other sources as if they were said directly to him; something Hari initially denied but later admitted.[3] He was identified as, and later admitted being, the author of pejorative edits (under an anonymous pseudonym) of his critics' Wikipedia pages.[4][5][6]

Early life

Hari was born in Glasgow, Scotland, to a Scottish mother and Swiss father,[7] before his family relocated to London when he was an infant.[8] Hari revealed he was physically abused in his childhood while his father was away and his mother was ill.[9]

According to Hari, he attended the John Lyon School, an independent school affiliated with Harrow School, and then Woodhouse College, a state sixth-form in Finchley.[10] Hari's website says he graduated from King's College, Cambridge in 2001 with a double first in social and political sciences.[11]

Early career

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.[12] A play by Hari, Going Down in History, was performed at the Garage Theatre in Edinburgh, and his book God Save the Queen? was published by Icon Books in 2002.[12]

In addition to being a columnist for The Independent, Hari's work has also appeared in The Huffington Post, New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, The Nation, Le Monde, El Pais, The Sydney Morning Herald and Ha'aretz, and he has reported from locations around the world such as Congo and Venezuela.[13] He has 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.[14]

2011 scandals

In 2011, Hari was the subject of two scandals involving his conduct as a journalist. First, he was accused of plagiarism following the discovery of his repeated use of quotes from other journalists' work as if they were the product of his own interviewing. Then, having attracted critics' attention, he was found to have anonymously edited the pages of some of those critics so as to present them in a negative light. These behaviours resulted in significant damage to Hari's reputation: he was required to return the prestigious Orwell Prize, which he had won in 2008, and he lost his position as a columnist for The Independent.


In 2011, bloggers at Deterritorial Support Group and Brian Whelan, editor of Yahoo! Ireland, garnered significant press interest after they alleged plagiarism in some of Hari's interviews, which they compared with earlier material published by other journalists and also previous written works by his interview subjects.[15][16][17] Hari denied wrongdoing, claiming that by presenting his subjects' previous statements and writing as part of his interviews, he was not passing off someone else's thoughts as his own.[18] He said that his use of unattributed quotes was only a clarification.[19] However in 2018, he noted that 'I did two things that were completely wrong. One is that when I interviewed people I often presented things that had been said to other journalists or had been written in books as if they had been said to me, which was not truthful.' [20] Reviewing this argument, 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 included quotations from her book Raising my Voice in a manner that made them appear as if spoken directly to Hari.[22] The newspaper's former editor, Peter Preston, wrote that Hari had been foolish, but not dishonest.[23] In July 2011, Hari was suspended for two months from The Independent [24] "pending investigation" by Andreas Whittam Smith,[25] and he later resigned from his role as a columnist with the newspaper.

After the plagiarism allegations, the Media Standards Trust said in a statement that they recognised the potential of the complaints to damage the reputation of the Orwell Prize,[26] which Hari had been awarded in 2008,[27] and instructed the Council of the Orwell Prize to examine the allegations.[28] As a result of this investigation, Hari returned the prize, though the Council said it "would have been vacated in any case" and that they "now consider... the matter to be at an end".[29]

Hari did not initially return the prize money of £2000.[30] Hari later offered to repay the sum, but Political Quarterly, responsible for paying the prize money in 2008, instead invited him to make a donation to English PEN, of which George Orwell had been a member. Hari arranged with English PEN to make a donation equal to the value of the prize, to be paid in instalments once he returned to work at The Independent.[31] However, he did not return to work there.


In mid-2011, Hari was revealed to have made anonymous pejorative edits to the Wikipedia pages of journalists who had criticised his conduct[32][33][34] after Nick Cohen raised concerns in The Spectator.[35] He wrote that he had been attacked on by an editor named "David Rose" (which was later identified as Hari's pseudonym) following a dispute with Johann Hari, and the same editor had made similar changes to the pages of Telegraph columnist Cristina Odone,[36] and Oliver Kamm, a leader writer for The Times[37] after they had been critical of Hari. Cohen also wrote that Hari's own entry had been edited by Rose "to make him seem one of the essential writers of our times".[35] After "David Rose" was later shown to be a pseudonym of Johann Hari,[38] Hari made a public apology for his behaviour.[39] This apology was criticised on a blog on the website of The Economist for being insincere.[40]

Later career

In January 2012, after leaving The Independent, 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.[41][42]

His 2015 TED talk entitled "Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong" has been viewed over 8.6 million times (as of 17 February 2018), and lays out the idea that most addictions are functional responses to experiences and a lack of healthy supportive relationships, rather than a simple biological need for a particular substance.[43]

In January 2018, Hari's book Lost Connections on depression and anxiety was published, with Hari citing his childhood issues, career crisis, and experiences with antidepressants and psychotherapy as fuelling his curiosity in the subject.[9] Kirkus Reviews praised the book.[44] Material from the book was criticised by neuroscientist and Guardian writer Dean Burnett, who pointed out that Hari appeared to be reporting as his own discoveries material — such as the biopsychosocial model – that has been common knowledge for decades.[45]



  • Johann Hari (2002). God Save the Queen?. Icon Books. ISBN 978-1-84046-401-6. 
  • Johann Hari (2015). Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-1-620-408902. 
  • Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions (2018)

See also


  1. ^ "Congratulations, Polanski-Defenders — Now the Child-Rapist Walks Free!". Huffington Post. 7 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "TED talk: Everything you thought you knew about addictions is wrong". TED Conferences, LLC. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  3. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/jan/07/johann-hari-depression-brain-lost-connections-book-interview
  4. ^ Deans, Jason; Kiss, Jemima (12 July 2011). "Johann Hari suspended from the Independent following plagiarism row". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  5. ^ Hari, Johann (15 September 2011). "Johann Hari: A personal apology". The Independent. London. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  6. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/jan/02/johann-hari-interview-drugs-book-independent
  7. ^ "Johann Hari: 'I failed badly. When you harm people, you should shut up, go away and reflect on what happened'". The Guardian. 2 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "About the Author". Chasing The Scream. Retrieved 22 October 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Anthony, Andrew (7 January 2018). "Johann Hari: 'I was afraid to dismantle the story about depression and anxiety'". The Observer. 
  10. ^ Hari, Johann. "A simple lesson on schools: Money works". Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2010. 
  11. ^ "About Johann – Johann Hari". Johannhari.com. Archived from the original on 3 September 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Spanner, Huw (November 2004). "Let The Fiery Columns Glow". Third Way Magazine. pp. 16–19. 
  13. ^ Hari, Johann (2015). Chasing The Scream. Bloomsbury USA, New York. p. 180. 
  14. ^ Dale, Iain; Brivati, Brian (27 September 2009). "Top 100 most influential Left-wingers: 100-51". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  15. ^ Sabbagh, Dan (28 June 2011). "Johann Hari denies these accusations of plagiarism". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  16. ^ O'Neill, Brendan (29 June 2011). "Johann Hari and the tyranny of the 'good lie'". The Telegraph blog. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  17. ^ Flock, Elizabeth (28 June 2011). "Johann Hari denies he plagiarized, sparking mockery campaign". The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  18. ^ Hari, Johann. "Interview etiquette". johannhari.com. Archived from the original on 30 June 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  19. ^ 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. 
  20. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/jan/07/johann-hari-depression-brain-lost-connections-book-interview
  21. ^ Banks, David (28 June 2011). "Independent writer's admission highlights news copyright issues". [The Guardian]]. 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 HariJohann Hari suspended for two months pending investigation". journalism.co.uk. 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. Archived from the original on 15 January 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  28. ^ Gunter, Joel (30 June 2011). "Orwell Prize Council begins investigation into Johann Hari". journalism.co.uk. Mousetrap Media. 
  29. ^ "The Orwell Prize and Johann Hari". 28 September 2011. 
  30. ^ Pugh, Andrew (27 September 2011). "Johann Hari yet to return Orwell prize £2,000". Press Gazette. Archived from the original on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2017. 
  31. ^ "The Orwell Prize and Johann Hari - English PEN". 4 October 2011. 
  32. ^ Chivers, Tom (19 September 2011). "We Lefties shouldn't be so quick to forgive Johann Hari". The Daily Telegraph blog. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  33. ^ Seymour, Richard (16 September 2011). "The Johann Hari debacle". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  34. ^ Allen Green, David (15 September 2011). "The tale of Mr Hari and Dr Rose". New Statesman. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  35. ^ a b Cohen, Nick (9 July 2011). "Diary". The Spectator. London. Archived from the original on 4 August 2011. 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 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. ^ Hari, Johann (14 September 2011). "A personal apology". The Independent.
  40. ^ "The depressing tale of Johann Hari". The Economist. London. 15 September 2011. 
  41. ^ Hari, Johann (20 January 2012). "Update". Johannhari.com. Archived from the original on 18 January 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  42. ^ Bloomsbury.com. "Chasing the Scream". Bloomsbury Publishing. 
  43. ^ "TED talk: Everything you thought you knew about addictions is wrong". 18 January 2018. 
  44. ^ "Kirkus Review: Lost Connections". 23 January 2018. 
  45. ^ Burnett, Dean (9 January 2018). "Is everything Johann Hari knows about depression wrong?". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 January 2018. 
  46. ^ "AIUK Media Awards: Winners and Nominees 2010". Amnesty International UK. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  47. ^ "Johann Hari picks up Martha Gellhorn Prize". Press Gazette blog. London. 24 May 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  48. ^ "Independent journalist wins Stonewall award". The Independent. London. 7 November 2009. Retrieved 7 November 2009. 
  49. ^ "Previous Winners 2009". Comment Awards. Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  50. ^ "Winners announced for Environmental Press Awards". Press Gazette. London. 26 November 2008. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  51. ^ a b "Johann Hari". BBC News. 5 May 2006. Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  52. ^ "British Press Awards: Past Winners". Press Gazette. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  53. ^ Morris, Sally (15 June 2000). "Future Perfect". The Times. London. 

External links