“Free” and “fair” Europe media is being shaken with a new scandal.
The German news magazine Der Spiegel has been plunged into chaos after revealing that one of its top reporters had falsified stories over several years. The magazine has announced that one of its star reporters, Claas Relotius, the winner of the German Reporter Award 2018, resigned due to committing journalistic fraud “on a grand scale”.
In a statement on Wednesday, Der Spiegel said it was working to establish the full extent of Relotius’ “fabrications” after a colleague who worked with him on a story raised suspicions about his reporting.
After initially denying the allegations, Relotius confessed last week to inventing entire passages of text in several instances, Der Spiegel says. The journalist admitted that he made fake news, especially over Turkey and Syrian refugee crisis. Spiegel said that Claas Relotius made up stories and invented protagonists in at least 14 out of 60 articles that appeared in the magazine’s print and online editions.
In some articles, he is said to have included individuals he had never met or spoken to, “telling their stories or quoting them”. “By his own admission, there are at least 14 articles,” the magazine said, adding: “Could that figure actually be considerably higher?”
The magazine said the incident marks “a low point in the 70-year history of Der Spiegel.”