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Exclusive: Johann Hari apologises for Wikipedia sockpuppeting of Nick Cohen and Francis Wheen

Former Independent columnist Johann Hari has offered a written apology to two journalists he was accused of anonymously defaming on Wikipedia.

Hari, who is currently promoting Chasing The Scream, his new book on the war on drugs, made his offer in an interview for

He admitted to Little Atoms' Neil Denny:

“I did two things that were really awful things to do; one was when I interviewed people  sometimes I would use material they had spoken elsewhere or written down and acted as if it had been said directly to me. And also on Wikipedia sometimes I would edit other people’s entries under a pseudonym and I was horrible and nasty about some of them. Those are both awful things to do.”

During the interview, Hari pledged to write letters of apology to Observer columnist Nick Cohen and Private Eye Deputy Editor Francis Wheen, both of whom were victims of "sockpuppeting" whereby Hari anonymously edited their Wikipedia entries. Hari claimed he had written to Cohen before, but the letter had not been received. Hari has requested that Little Atoms delivers the letters of apology to both writers both of whom are former guests on the Little Atoms podcast.

He added: "It's a very cruel thing to do to edit someone  pseudonymously, it's cowardly, it's a nasty thing to do so of course I'll write to them both."

Listen to the full interview here.


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