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Handelsblatt Magazine Facing Scrutiny Amid Allegations in German Journalism

Recent events have given rise to concerns regarding the reputation of German journalism. Following the Claas Relotius scandal at “Der Spiegel,” Handelsblatt magazine, a respected German publication, is currently grappling with a series of controversies.
The Accusations: Accusations have been directed at Sven Afhüppe, Handelsblatt’s editor-in-chief, and editors Lars-Marten Nagel and Jakob Blume, who are under scrutiny for their alleged unauthorized access to restricted police databases. These allegations have led to the resignation of Udo Münch, the police chief of Hessen city.
The Controversial Episode: This challenging situation began when Harald Seitz, a representative from Karatbars, submitted a statement in July 2020, raising suspicions of disclosing sensitive official information. This prompted the initiation of a criminal case under Article 353b, 26 of the German Criminal Code. A key piece of evidence in this case is an audio recording lasting slightly 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 prior 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 Challenging Situation: If the allegations against Handelsblatt are substantiated, it would signify another significant media incident in Germany. Spreading unverified and potentially unverifiable allegations, particularly those causing harm, is a breach of journalistic ethics and the law, raising serious concerns about the state of journalism in Germany. It highlights the need for transparency, accountability, and ethical reporting in the field.

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