German journalists protest cancellation of investigation into tabloid editor


Updated 29 minutes ago

LONDON (AP) – Journalists from one of Germany’s largest news groups protested their publisher’s decision to cancel a lengthy investigation into allegations of abuse of office by the editor of the tabloid newspaper the most sold in the country.

A letter posted on social media on Sunday evening accused Ippen.Media and its editor, Dirk Ippen, of “breach of trust” for deciding to stop the report, which had been in the works for months. The letter was dated Friday and the report was due for release on Sunday.

The investigation focused on Julian Reichelt, editor of the daily Bild, who came under scrutiny for his management style which allegedly included intimidation and abuse of his position of power towards female staff.

Reichelt, one of Germany’s most powerful media figures, was temporarily suspended from his post earlier this year but was later reinstated, after Bild’s publishing company Axel Springer SE said his actions did not justify his dismissal.

In their letter, four prominent members of Ippen’s investigative team said their planned report would have brought to light “new and exclusive” information and had been carefully vetted and approved by lawyers.

“The fact that you nevertheless decided not to let us publish the story goes against all the rules for independent reporting,” the letter said. Its authenticity was confirmed to The Associated Press by someone from Ippen.Media who spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak publicly.

Ippen.Media did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company, rival of Axel Springer, owns numerous newspapers in Germany and last year acquired the German brand Buzzfeed.

The New York Times published a report on Sunday with further details of an internal investigation into Reichelt’s alleged affair with an intern.

Axel Springer has successfully developed its business in the United States in recent years. He owns online media company Insider and business Morning Brew, and in August he announced a deal to buy US political news company Politico and technology news site Protocol.

Axel Springer also did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.


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