Johann Hari

Johann Hari is taking a four-month leave of absence to undertake journalism training

Independent columnist Johann Hari has offered to return the £2,000 prize money he received in 2008 after winning the Orwell Prize, following his admission that he had plagiarised quotes in his work.

Earlier this week the financial backers of the Orwell Prize announced they would not pursue Hari over the money, despite prize organisers also concluding that his submission to the prize itself "contained inaccuracies and conflated different parts of someone else’s story".

But late yesterday the Orwell Prize released an updated statement to say Hari had been in contact and offered to repay the money.

However the journal Political Quarterly, which was responsible for paying the prize money that year has instead invited Hari to make "an appropriate donation to English PEN", of which George Orwell was a member.
"The council of the Orwell Prize now considers the matter to be at an end
," it said in the updated statement.

Hari returned the prize earlier this month after an internal investigation by the Independent revealed that he had plagiarised quotes and used an online alias to maliciously edit the Wikipedia pages of other journalists.

Earlier this week the organisers of the award said the Orwell Prize Council had already decided to revoke Hari's award before his announcement.

Hari is now taking a four-month leave of absence from the Independent, to undertake journalism training.

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