It sounds horrible that Fareed Zakaria, who is Mumbai born and brought pride to all Indians should be suspended by his employers CNN and Time magazine after he admitted to plagiarism and apologised for the ethical lapse.
Apparantly, Fareed Zakaria wrote an article on gun control which was published in the prestigious Time magazine. In that article, a paragraph from an article on the same subject by Harvard University professor of American history Jill Lepore which had been earlier published in the New Yorker magazine was copied without giving credit to the source.
Fareed Zakaria did some damage control by tendering an apology in which he said that he had made a “terrible mistake” and committed an “ethical lapse” by copying without giving credit.
But the apology did not spare Fareed Zakaria from swift retribution. Time magazine, where Zakaria writes a column suspended him by stating that “what he did violates our own standards for our columnists, which is that their work must not only be factual but original; their views must not only be their own but their words as well.”
CNN, where Zakaria hosts a popular weekly foreign affairs show called ‘Fareed Zakaria GPS’ also suspended the show for an indefinite period pending review.
This is a sad story given that Fareed Zakaria is such a brilliant mind and has made all Indians proud. He was awarded the prestigious Padma Bhushan in 2010 for his contribution towards journalism.
Here is the example of the plagarism:
Extract from article titled ‘Battleground America’ by Lepore in the New Yorker magazine:
“As Adam Winkler, a constitutional-law scholar at UCLA, demonstrates in a remarkably nuanced new book, Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America, firearms have been regulated in the United States from the start.”
“Laws banning the carrying of concealed weapons were passed in Kentucky and Louisiana in 1813, and other states soon followed: Indiana (1820), Tennessee and Virginia (1838), Alabama (1839), and Ohio (1859). Similar laws were passed in Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma,”
“As the governor of Texas explained in 1893, the ‘mission of the concealed deadly weapon is murder. To check it is the duty of every self-respecting, law-abiding man“
Extract from Fareed Zakaria’s article titled ‘The Case for Gun Control’ published in the Time magazine:
“Adam Winkler, a professor of constitutional law at UCLA, documents the actual history in Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America. Guns were regulated in the US from the earliest years of the Republic. Laws that banned the carrying of concealed weapons were passed in Kentucky and Louisiana in 1813.”
“Other states soon followed: Indiana in 1820, Tennessee and Virginia in 1838, Alabama in 1839 and Ohio in 1859. Similar laws were passed in Texas, Florida and Oklahoma. As the governor of Texas (Texas!) explained in 1893, the ‘mission of the concealed deadly weapon is murder. To check it is the duty of every self-respecting, law-abiding man‘”.
This episode reminds one of the sad story of Kaavya Viswanathan, the promising Indian author, who wrote the book “How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life” and got into serious trouble because she had copied from several sources without acknowledgment.
Update: 17.08.2012: Fareed Zakaria Suspension Lifted
There is good news for all Fareed Zakaria’s fans. Time & CNN revoked the suspension by stating: “We have completed a thorough review of each of Fareed Zakaria’s columns for Time, and we are entirely satisfied that the language in question in his recent column was an unintentional error and an isolated incident for which he has apologised. We look forward to having Fareed’s thoughtful and important voice back in the magazine with his next column in the issue that comes out on September 7.”
So, all is well that ends well for India’s favourite columnist.