It's the media scandal of 2018: "Mirror" reporter Claas Relotius faked countless of his award-winning stories. Journalist Juan Moreno discovers the fraud and writes a book about it. But is there truth everywhere in that?
The former "Spiegel" reporter Claas Relotius is against alleged false statements by the freelance journalist Juan Moreno. Specifically, it is about the presentation in the book "Thousand Rows Lie The System Relotius and German Journalism" by Moreno, which deals with the transfer of his colleague Relotius. The weekly newspaper " Die Zeit " reports that the media lawyer Christian Schertz has sent a claim for injunctive relief to Moreno and the publisher Rowohlt Berlin. There are more than 20 pages in the book that are meant to contain "significant falsehoods and misrepresentations."
The question also arises, the letter states, whether it is permissible or ethically acceptable, to write a book about a person who is recognizably mentally ill. A total of 22 text passages are problematic according to media lawyer, which should not be further asserted or disseminated. Otherwise, a contractual fine should be payable, the amount of which Relotius could determine.
"I am very much aware of my own great debt today and I do not want to distract myself from it by dealing with this book, I stand by everything, for which I am responsible But I do not have to accept untrue interpretations and misstatements by Juan Moreno, and without knowing each other personally or having spoken to people around me, Moreno constructs a character, "explained Claas Relotius.
The closing scene is not true?
Details such as the information that Relotius won or has won more than 40 prizes for his journalistic work a cancer-stricken sister, would be put to the test. Moreno writes at the end of the book, a secretary of the "mirror" saw Relotius riding a bicycle through Hamburg, after he had told someone else, he was in treatment in southern Germany. But the temporal connection is not correct, Relotius clarifies. Moreno then explained that a colleague had told him so.
The allegations against Juan Moreno go even further: he did not speak with those directly involved, did not authorize citations and the "mirror" author Relotius never met in person.
Der Spiegel had made the scandal even public at the end of 2018. According to the magazine, since 2011 around 60 texts have been published in the magazine and at "Spiegel Online", which Relotius wrote or was involved in. In it he had partly invented protagonists and scenes. Moreno had come to terms with him while researching a common story.