Johann Eduard Hari (born 21 January 1979) is a British-Swiss writer and journalist. He has written for publications including ''The Independent'' and ''The Huffington Post,'' and has written books on the topics of depression, the war on drugs, and the British monarchy. In 2011, Hari was suspended and then resigned from ''The Independent'' after admitting to plagiarism, and making pejorative edits to the Wikipedia pages about journalists who had criticised his conduct.

Early life

Hari was born in Glasgow, Scotland, to a Scottish mother and Swiss father, before his family relocated to London when he was an infant. Hari was physically abused in his childhood while his father was away and his mother was ill. 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. Hari graduated from King's College, Cambridge in 2001 with a double first in social and political sciences.

Early career

In 2000, Hari 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. 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. In addition to being a columnist for ''The Independent'', Hari's work 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 reported from locations around the world such as Congo and Venezuela. He appeared regularly as an arts critic on the BBC Two programme ''The Review Show'', and 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.


In 2011, bloggers at ''Deterritorial Support Group'' and editor of ''Yahoo! Ireland'' editor Brian Whelan asserted that Hari had plagiarised material published in other interviews and writings by his interview subjects. For example, 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. Hari initially denied wrongdoing, stating that the unattributed quotes were for clarification and did not present someone else's thoughts as his own. However, he later said that his behaviour was "completely wrong" and 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." Hari was suspended for two months from ''The Independent'', and he resigned shortly afterwards. The Media Standards Trust instructed the Council of the Orwell Prize, who had given their 2008 prize to Hari, to examine the allegations. Hari returned the prize, though he did not initially return the prize money of £2000. He later offered to repay the sum, but ''Political Quarterly'', which had paid the prize money, 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 installments once he returned to work at ''The Independent''. However, he did not return to work there.


In September 2011, Hari admitted that he had edited articles on Wikipedia about himself and journalists with whom he had had disputes. Posing as a journalist named "David Rose", he added false and defamatory claims to articles about journalists including Nick Cohen, Cristina Odene, Francis Wheen, Andrew Roberts and Niall Ferguson and Oliver Kamm, and edited the article about himself "to make him seem one of the essential writers of our times". In July 2011, Cohen wrote about the suspicious Wikipedia editing in ''The Spectator,'' prompting ''New Statesman'' journalist David Allen Green to publish a blog post collecting evidence. This led to a community investigation and "David Rose" was blocked from Wikipedia. Haris published an apology in ''The Independent'', admitting that he had been "David Rose" and writing: "I edited the entries of people I had clashed with in ways that were juvenile or malicious: I called one of them anti-Semitic and homophobic, and the other a drunk. I am mortified to have done this, because it breaches the most basic ethical rule: don’t do to others what you don’t want them to do to you. I apologise to the latter group unreservedly and totally."Hari, Johann (14 September 2011)
"A personal apology". ''The Independent''.

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''. His 2015 TED Talk entitled "Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong" has been viewed over 15 million times (as of 22 February 2020), 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. 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. ''Kirkus Reviews'' praised the book. 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, and for misrepresenting the medical, psychiatric and scientific establishments as "some shadowy monolithic organisation, in thrall to the drug industry". Burnett admits to not having actually read the book in question. Burnett subsequently claimed that he had been pressurised by friends of Hari's at ''The Guardian'' to offer Hari a pre-emptive right to reply and, after publication, to link to Hari's attempt at rebuttal.

Personal life

Hari identifies as gay. Hari said "I'm an atheist, but I am in awe of the fact the reaction of the Charleston victims' families is genuinely Christ-like" in reference to the Charleston church shooting.


* ''Newspaper Journalist of the Year'' at Amnesty International Media Awards 2010 for the article ''Congo's tragedy: the war the world forgot''. * Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism 2010 * ''Journalist of the Year'' at the Stonewall Awards, 2009 * ''Cultural Commentator of the Year'' at the Comment Awards 2009 * Author of ''Story of the Year'' at the Environmental Press Awards 2008 * The Orwell Prize for political journalism, 2008 (withdrawn 2011) * ''Newspaper Journalist of the Year'' at Amnesty International Media Awards 2007 for the article ''The dark side of Dubai''. * ''Young Journalist of the Year'' at the British Press Awards in 2003 * ''Student News Journalist of the Year'' by ''The Times'' in 2000


* * *


External links

Articles about Johann Hari in ''The Guardian''

Articles for ''The Independent''
{{DEFAULTSORT:Hari, Johann Category:1979 births Category:Living people Category:Alumni of King's College, Cambridge Category:Anglo-Scots Category:British atheism activists Category:British atheists Category:British male journalists Category:British republicans Category:British social democrats Category:British writers Category:Swiss journalists Category:Swiss writers Category:Drug policy reform activists Category:Gay writers Category:Journalistic scandals Category:LGBT journalists from the United Kingdom Category:LGBT writers from England Category:LGBT writers from Scotland Category:People from Glasgow Category:People involved in plagiarism controversies Category:HuffPost writers and columnists Category:The Independent people Category:Writers from London Category:British social commentators Category:People educated at The John Lyon School Category:20th-century atheists Category:21st-century atheists