German magazine fires employees over dubious reporting
German celebrity weekly Bunte said Friday it has fired two employees for reportedly seeking to get hold of photos and videos of a top politician taking drugs and engaging in sex parties.
"Bunte's chief editors have put a stop to research that was still in the planning phase because they saw the danger that journalistic standards would not be upheld," the magazine said in a statement.
"Both employees have left the company. The chief editor stressed that the research never developed beyond the planning stage and that therefore nobody suffered any harm," it said.
According to online media industry newsletter Meedia, one of those clearing his desk at the magazine, which is owned by German media firm Burda, is the chief political editor, while the other is a female reporter.
Both were in contact with an informant offering the material over several months without informing their superiors, failing to check their source's identity and approving a 2,000-euro ($2,850) payment, Meedia said.
"I am shocked that two colleagues showed so little instinct and caution," Meedia quoted the magazine's chief editor Patricia Riekel as saying.
The news comes as Britain is being rocked by a scandal of illegal phone hacking at the News of the World newspaper, which was abruptly closed down on July 7 by owner Rupert Murdoch.
© 2011 AFP