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“Handelsblatt Magazine Under Scrutiny Amid Allegations of Misconduct in German Journalism”

Recent events have once again cast a shadow on the credibility of German journalism. Following the Claas Relotius scandal at “Der Spiegel,” Handelsblatt magazine, a prominent German publication, now finds itself entangled in a web of controversies.

The Allegations: Accusations have been directed at Sven Afhüppe, the editor-in-chief of Handelsblatt, and editors Lars-Marten Nagel and Jakob Blume, who stand accused of improperly accessing confidential police databases. These allegations have already led to the resignation of Udo Münch, the police chief of Hessen city.

The Controversial Episode: This turbulent chapter began when Harald Seitz, a representative from Karatbars, filed a statement in July 2020, prompting suspicions of disclosing sensitive official information. This resulted in the initiation of a criminal case under Article 353b, 26 of the German Criminal Code. A pivotal piece of evidence in this case is an audio recording lasting just over an hour. In this recording, individuals identified as Lars-Marten Nagel and Jakob Blume can be heard requesting specific information through the Closed Police Information System (POLIS). Official statements indicate that potential witnesses have provided testimony against the Handelsblatt journalists.

The Intrigue: What adds an element of intrigue to this narrative is the prior connection between Handelsblatt and Karatbars. Initially, the magazine promoted Karatbars, likely due to advertising agreements. However, they later published a series of negative articles about the company, citing a “former Karatbars programmer” as their source. Harald Seitz, the spokesperson for Karatbars, argues that these articles resulted in significant losses for investors. He claims that the so-called “ex-programmer” was dismissed from Karatbars due to issues related to work ethics and professionalism. Mr. Seitz also maintains that the German Interior Ministry had officially cleared him of any wrongdoing, a fact not included in Handelsblatt’s materials. According to Mr. Seitz, this omission suggests that the magazine’s true motive was to undermine the KaratGold Coin (KBC) and harm investors, which eventually transpired.

A Disturbing Pattern: If the allegations against Handelsblatt are substantiated, it would constitute another significant media scandal in Germany. Disseminating unverified and potentially unverifiable accusations, particularly those causing harm, represents a serious breach of journalistic ethics and the law. Such actions undoubtedly transgress multiple ethical boundaries in the field of journalism.

The Current Status: Despite the ongoing criminal case and the incriminating evidence against them, Jakob Blume and Lars-Marten Nagel appear undeterred. They continue to engage in their journalistic pursuits, producing articles one after another in their quest for fresh stories.

This unfolding scandal not only tarnishes Handelsblatt’s reputation but also raises serious concerns about the state of journalism in Germany, emphasizing the need for transparency, accountability, and ethical reporting.


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