Doubts about the truthfulness: "Spiegel" removes texts about the death of a refugee child

In August, thousands of people try to cross the Greek-Turkish border into the EU.

Doubts about the truthfulness: "Spiegel" removes texts about the death of a refugee child

In August, thousands of people try to cross the Greek-Turkish border into the EU. Media around the world reported on the events there. The "Spiegel" is now checking some reports whose veracity is doubted.

"Spiegel" has removed several reports from the Greek-Turkish border from its website. Previously, doubts had arisen as to the veracity of the texts. In the "Abroad" department, only the headline of the article "Death Trap EU Border" can currently be read. The editors write: "At this point there was an article about the fate of a group of refugees on the Greek-Turkish border river Evros in the summer of 2022. There are now doubts about the previous description of what happened at that time."

The industry magazine "Medieninsider" first reported on the process. Accordingly, there are doubts about the posts about a refugee girl who is said to have died on an island between Turkey and Greece. According to the "Spiegel", several articles on this topic have been temporarily removed from the website. "We review our reporting and, once the research is complete, decide whether or not to republish the articles in a corrected and updated form."

According to the "media insider", there are not only doubts about the girl's death. Rather, it is unclear whether it even existed. A reporter wrote about the child that she died at the beginning of August at Europe's outer border because the Greek authorities refused her any help. "She just turned five years old."

The Greek Minister of Migration, Notis Mitarachi, has expressed doubts about this account, which he is said to have communicated to "Spiegel" editor-in-chief Steffen Klusmann in a letter in September. Mitarachi accused the reporter of the Hamburg news magazine of having taken over the information on the case from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) almost unfiltered. The media insider quotes the minister from the letter: "It is clear from the facts and all the photographic evidence that there is no missing child, let alone a dead child."

"Spiegel" reporter Giorgos Christides, who researched the story in Greece, commented on the doubts in a Twitter thread at the end of August. In it he stated that he had spoken to the girl's parents and siblings. Unlike politicians, he doesn't want to doubt them. Other people had also confirmed the girl's existence, and there had also been affidavits to the investigating public prosecutor's office. Christides has not commented on the current allegations.

The "Spiegel" is now investigating the doubts internally. "Medieninsider" writes that an attempt is being made to reconstruct the research. The clarification is difficult for various reasons, apparently also because the island is partly Greek and partly Turkish. A targeted campaign by the Greek government against the "Spiegel" journalist cannot be ruled out either.

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