Johann Hari suspended by The Independent

Controversial Independent columnist Johann Hari has been suspended by The Independent weeks after being engulfed in a plagiarism row.

New editor Chris Blackhurst is reported as saying: “Johann Hari has been suspended for two months pending the outcome of an internal enquiry. We have no further comment to make.”

According to The Guardian the inquiry was being carried out by former Independent editor Andreas Whittam-Smith.

Hari was accused of plagiarism after it was revealed he had taken quotes from books and interviews written by other journalists without attributing the source of the material.

Last month, the organisers of the Orwell Prize announced they were investigating whether he should be allowed to keep the award for political journalism which he won in 2008.

Former Independent editor Simon Kelner stood by Hari in the wake of the row claiming the subsequent storm surrounding the allegation was no ‘great scandal’and insisting the writer remained a ‘serious force for good in the world”.

‘It was a naïve error which we recognise,” he said at the time. “Johann, of course, should have credited the interviews that he was quoting.”

Kelner was replaced as editor by former City editor at the Evening Standard Chris Blackhurst on 1 July.

Kelner said on Twitter this afternoon that he said from the outset that The Independent would be holding an inquiry into these claims.

In reply to a question he told one Twitter user: “I am sure you can understand that after the initial claims came more allegations. We needed to be fair to everyone concerned.”

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