The Council of the Orwell Prize met last week to consider Johann Hari’s winning submission for the 2008 journalism prize. In a statement by the Council (get them) published earlier today, we learn that:
After extensive deliberation, the Council arrived at a clear and unanimous decision, which drew from the combined journalistic and academic expertise of its members.
Terrific. Unfortunately, we don’t know what that decision is, as the Independent has requested that it complete its own investigation before any announcement by the Council.
The Independent has now requested that the Council consider further representations by Johann Hari before announcing the decision. However, it would appear that Johann Hari is not permitted to make any further representations whilst The Independent’s investigation is conducted.
In these circumstances, the Council of the Orwell Prize has reluctantly consented to delay any formal announcement as to the status of the 2008 Orwell Prize for Journalism until The Independent has completed its own investigation.
So we’re none the wiser. Or are we? Let’s take another look:
The Independent has now requested that the Council consider further representations by Johann Hari before announcing the decision.
If the unanimous decision of the Council was not to rescind Hari’s award, why would the Independent/Hari request leave to make further representations on Hari’s behalf? I can’t conceive of any circumstances where the Independent/Hari would wish to make further representations to the Council if it had already determined to stand by the original decision to award Hari the 2008 prize.
If readers can provide an alternative explanation for the Independent/Hari’s request to make further representations, I’m all ears.
UPDATE: A theory forming as I write based on the admitted guess that the Council has decided against Hari is that the Indy would find it very difficult to clear Hari following a decision by the Council for the Orwell Prize to rescind the 2008 prize. However, an Indy investigation that cleared Hari preceding the Orwell Prize announcement is just a little easier to defend along the lines of, “What are they thinking? We’ve investigated and found nothhing. There are clearly dark forces at work. The honourable Council members have been swayed by speculative and inaccurate commentary, etc., etc..” In other words, the request that the Council hear further representations from Hari that cannot come until the Indy has completed its own investigations is simply a delaying tactic designed to ensure the findings of the Indy investigation hit the streets before the decision of the Council for the Orwell Prize.
I thought I was busy at work, but clearly I have too much time on my hands.