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'Spiegel' suspends two editors after fake news scandal

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Berlin   /   Sat, December 29, 2018   /   03:53 pm
'Spiegel' suspends two editors after fake news scandal German journalist Claas Relotius has returned four press awards after weekly magazine Der Spiegel found he had fabricated facts in a number of articles. (Shutterstock/Thanida Siritan)

Influential German news weekly Der Spiegel, shaken by a scandal over a reporter who admitted faking stories for years, said it has suspended two senior editors.

The contracts of Ullrich Fichtner, an editor in chief, and Matthias Geyer, a chief editor, have been "suspended until the (magazine's) internal commission has completed its investigation into the affair," the editor in chief Steffen Klusmann said in an internal letter, of which AFP obtained a copy on Friday.

On Dec. 19, Der Spiegel stunned the media world by revealing that one of its award-winning reporters had for years falsified stories.

Claas Relotius, 33, resigned this month after admitting he had made up stories and invented protagonists in more than a dozen articles in the magazine's print and online editions.

"The Relotius affair raises the question as to whether" Ullrich and Fichtner "can continue in their jobs after such a disaster," said Klusmann.

"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 Relotius, and that could continue up to the top of the hierarchy," he said.

Der Spiegel said on Dec. 23 a criminal complaint would be filed against Relotius after it emerged he may also have embezzled donations intended for Syrian street children.

Relotius on Thursday denied the accusations.