British journalist suspended over plagiarism claims

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A star columnist for Britain's Independent newspaper was suspended for two months on Tuesday pending an investigation into allegations that he was guilty of plagiarism, the newspaper said.

Last month, Johann Hari, a leading light of British left-wing journalism and one of the Independent's top interviewers, apologised for rewriting quotes or using passages his subjects had written elsewhere to make his interviews clearer.

He denied plagiarism, saying such allegations were "totally false", and pointed out that in ten years of interviewing, none of his subjects had complained that they had been misquoted.

But accusations continued to circulate on the Internet that Hari had plagiarised quotes from other people's interviews.

A spokeswoman for the Independent told AFP: "He has been suspended for two months pending the outcome of an internal inquiry. We have no further comment."

The Independent is owned by Russian tycoon Alexander Lebedev.

British newspaper journalism is engulfed in a crisis over phone hacking, which caused the shock closure of the 168-year-old News of the World last week.

© 2011 AFP

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