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'Explain plagiarism,' Merkel asks Guttenberg

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'Explain plagiarism,' Merkel asks Guttenberg
Photo: DPA
12:43 CEST+02:00
Chancellor Angela Merkel this week asked former Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg to explain the plagiarism of his doctoral thesis, and he has agreed. But he is also trying to block a report by his alma mater that details the extent of his alleged academic violations.

Guttenberg offered his full co-operation to the chancellor, her spokesman Steffen Seibert said Monday.

“The chancellor expects that this will hold true,” he told journalists.

But the conservative politician, who resigned in March after admitting errors in his dissertation, is also trying to block the University of Bayreuth from publishing their review of the document.

After a weekend media report revealed details of the claim that Guttenberg intentionally plagiarized portions of his doctoral thesis, his lawyer accused the university of creating conditions for prejudgement and violating his personal rights.

It remains uncertain whether the University of Bayreuth will publish its findings. The commission, which includes professors from other colleges, has not yet finished the report, and some editing will continue until the end of April.

But top academics have called on Guttenberg to make the results public.

"One who has experience with public fame must also assume that his mistakes will also be public," President of the German Association of University Professors and Lecturers (DHV), Bernhard Kempten, told news magazine Der Spiegel on Monday.

Meanwhile Swiss journalist Klara Obermüller – a victim of plagiarism by Guttenberg – criticized his attempt to hinder the report’s publication.

“What Guttenberg is doing is grotesque,” she told daily Frankfurter Rundschau on Tuesday, adding she was “absolutely” in favour of the university making the report public.

Guttenberg used 86 lines of an article by Obermüller without citing the source.

Keeping the report private “smells strongly of special privileges” and is “very undemocratic,” she said of the aristocratic Guttenberg.

DAPD/DPA/The Local/ka

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