Most of the 60 reports for which Relotius won journalism awards were allegedly based on lies.
CNN has retracted its awards to him.
US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell said “the US had been the victim of institutional bias at the magazine… several of these fake stories focused on US policies and certain segments of the American people.”
The Washington Examiner wrote that Der Spiegel’s “editorial staff wanted to believe the dark and unflattering portraits he painted of America.”
The scandal comes alongside revelations about the Iranian regime’s influence over some of the Western press, and bias in 2018 by certain media outlets — notably The Guardian, The Independent, Britain’s Channel 4 TV, and Al Jazeera. These outlets are hostile to the Iranian opposition, specifically the People’s Mojahedin (PMOI/MEK) and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). They have made libelous allegations against the MEK and the NCRI. Repeated denials by the MEK go unpublished.
Relotius’s reports fell apart under research and scrutiny by Der Spiegel, after many parliamentarians and English personalities pointed out the deceit in letters to the editor.
The Guardian’s Reza Merat published a similar article, the source for which was proven to be a group from the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) in Albania. They introduced themselves as former MeK members, but documentation of their links to the Iranian embassy and MOIS have been published and sent to The Guardian, and one month after Reza Merat’s article was published, the regime’s ambassador and its intelligence station chief in Albania were expelled from this country for conspiring against the MEK.
After the Albanian expulsion, the editors of The Guardian and others who have published fake news targeting the MEK and the NCRI never took any action or apologized.
The MEK’s critical role in sustaining the popular uprisings that have continued in Iran for the past year was recently acknowledged by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who said that those outside the country want to “help the various enemies of Iran, the MEK and similar groups, to create disagreement and civil war and problems …. they may have created a commotion in 2018, but are planning for 2019.”
US President Trump thanked the Albanian Prime Minister on December 14th, for his “steadfast efforts to stand up to Iran and to counter its destabilizing activities and efforts to silence dissidents around the globe.”