German magazine suspends senior editors over Claas Relotius fake news scandal

Der Spiegel
Der Spiegel YouTube grab

A German news weekly Der Spiegel has suspended two senior editors after the magazine found through an internal investigation that one of its famous reporters was writing fake stories for several years.

The Business Standard, another Der Spiegel editor in chief Steffen Klusmann stated in an internal letter, of which AFP obtained a copy on Friday, December 28 that the editor in chief Ullrich Fichtner and chief editor Matthias Geyer have been serving the suspension until the magazine's internal commission has completed its investigation into the affair.

On December 19, the German news outlet revealed that one of its award-winning reporters was writing fabricating news stories for years. Later, it was revealed that the 33-year-old Claas Relotius, was the culprit and he resigned in December after admitting numerous instances of journalistic fraud by writing fake stories and inventing protagonists in more than a dozen articles.

Relotius had received many prestigious awards such as CNN's Journalist of the year 2014 and European Press Prize 2017.

Klusmann wrote in the letter that Relotius affair has raised the question "as to whether (Ullrich and Fichtner) can continue in their jobs after such a disaster."

"The first discovered it for Der Spiegel, the second hired him and was until recently his superior. We could now hold to account anyone who has dealt with Mr Relotius, and that could continue up to the top of the hierarchy," he said.

As per the magazine on December 23 a criminal complaint would be filed against the reporter and are gathering evidence to present to prosecutors.

Related topics : Fake news