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German reporter, Relotius stripped of CNN awards after fabricating stories

German journalist Claas Relotius holds his award trophy of the CNN Journalist Award 2014, in Munich, Germany on March 27, 2014.Gert Krautbauer / EPA file.

A German journalist, who was found to have fabricated numerous articles, Claas Relotius, is being stripped of two awards he received in 2014 from CNN International, according to The Associated Press.

The Associated Press said, in a statement to it, CNN International disclosed that the independent panel of judges who awarded Relotius the Journalist of the Year and Print Journalist of the Year awards four years ago decided unanimously to remove them following revelations about his fraud.

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German magazine Der Spiegel, where Relotius worked as a freelancer and later full-time, said that he had fabricated interviews and facts in at least 14 articles.

The publication, one of Germany’s leading news outlets, said the 33-year-old had committed journalistic fraud “on a grand scale” over a number of years, including fabricating elements of an article about an American woman who he said volunteered to witness the executions of death row inmates.

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The publication said concerns were first raised in November by a fellow reporter who worked with Relotius on a story about a border militia in Arizona and discovered that supposed interviews had never taken place.

The German weekly said the fraud “marks a low point in the 70-year history of Der Spiegel.”

The Associated Press said Relotius did not respond to a request for comment from it.

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