“Bunte’s chief editors have put a stop to research that was still in the planning phase because they saw the danger that journalistic standards would not be upheld,” the magazine said in a statement. “Both employees have left the company. The chief editor stressed that the research never developed beyond the planning stage and that therefore nobody suffered any harm,” it said.
One of those clearing his desk at the magazine, which is owned by German media firm Burda, is the chief political editor, while the other is a female reporter, according to online media industry newsletter Meedia.
Both were in contact with an informant offering the material over several months without informing their superiors. They failed to check their source’s identity and approved a 2,000-euro ($2,850) payment, Meedia said.
“I am shocked that two colleagues showed so little instinct and caution,” Meedia quoted the magazine’s chief editor Patricia Riekel as saying.
The news comes as Britain is being rocked by an illegal phone hacking at the News of the World newspaper, which was abruptly closed down on July 7 by owner Rupert Murdoch.