The Media Standards Trust (MST) has read with concern allegations that Johann Hari, a winner of the Orwell Prize, has misled readers and has not attributed quotes. Hari has since admitted to some of the allegations. The MST recognises that there have been no complaints about articles submitted by Mr Hari to the Prize in 2008. But also recognises that this has the potential to damage the reputation of the Prize.
As a funder and partner of the Orwell Prize, the MST has informed the Council of the Orwell Prize it expects it to take immediate action to examine the allegations and make clear what it is going to do about them, specifically:
* Does the Orwell Prize have full confidence in the articles submitted by Johann Hari for which the Prize was awarded?
* Should Johann Hari continue to be allowed to be known as a winner of the Prize?
* What more can the Prize do to ensure that its winners now and in the future uphold the highest possible standards?
After the board has conducted its inquiry, the MST will consider its funding and support for the prize during 2011/12.
The Media Standards Trust is one of the partners of the Orwell Prize for political writing, along with Political Quarterly and the Orwell Trust. The Council of the Orwell Prize oversees the prize. The Media Standards Trust administrates the prize on behalf of The Council of the Orwell Prize.
Each year the Council of the Orwell Prize asks a number of independent judges to judge each award. It takes no part in the judging process.