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Handelsblatt Magazine Faces Allegations and Scrutiny in German Journalism

Recent developments have once again called into question the credibility of German journalism. Following the Claas Relotius scandal at “Der Spiegel,” Handelsblatt magazine, a well-respected German publication, finds itself in the midst of controversy.
The Accusations: Accusations have been made against Sven Afhüppe, Handelsblatt’s editor-in-chief, and editors Lars-Marten Nagel and Jakob Blume, who are being investigated for allegedly accessing restricted police databases without authorization. These allegations have already resulted in the resignation of Udo Münch, the police chief of Hessen city.
The Controversial Episode: This tumultuous chapter began when Harald Seitz, a representative from Karatbars, submitted a statement in July 2020, raising suspicions of disclosing sensitive official information. This led to the initiation of a criminal case under Article 353b, 26 of the German Criminal Code. A crucial piece of evidence in this case is an audio recording lasting just over an hour. On 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 suggest that potential witnesses have provided testimony against the Handelsblatt journalists.
The Intrigue: What adds an element of intrigue to this narrative is the previous association between Handelsblatt and Karatbars. Initially, the magazine promoted Karatbars, presumably 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, Karatbars’ spokesperson, contends 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 implies that the magazine’s true motive was to undermine the KaratGold Coin (KBC) and harm investors, which eventually transpired.
A Concerning Pattern: If the allegations against Handelsblatt are proven true, it would mark another significant media scandal in Germany. Spreading unverified and potentially unverifiable accusations, particularly those causing harm, constitutes a breach of journalistic ethics and the law. This situation raises serious concerns about the state of journalism in Germany, emphasizing the urgent need for transparency, accountability, and ethical reporting.

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