German second largest news agency shuts down

2013-04-11 21:54:05 GMT2013-04-12 05:54:05(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BERLIN, April 11 (Xinhua) -- DAPD, the second largest news agency in Germany, ended its operation Thursday afternoon. Nearly 200 employees lost their jobs.

Petra Hilgers, the insolvency administrator for the ailing agency, announced in a staff meeting in Berlin that efforts to find investors had failed. At 17:00, the two-year-old agency stopped offering news service to its customers.

DAPD currently had about 175 permanent employees. German Journalists' Association chairman Michael Konken called the shut-down "a disaster for the editors and freelance journalists of DAPD."

"This is a loss for media diversity in our country," he said, asking other media to consider offering job opportunities for former DAPD staff. "They deserve a second chance," said Konken.

Since it filed for bankruptcy in October 2012, DAPD has been making efforts to find new investors. Russian news agency RIA Novosti was seen as the last hope for the insolvent agency. Their negotiation, however, was cancelled recently.

Founded in September 2010 after a merge of former West Germany news agency DDP and the German branch of American news agency Associated Press, DAPD had been trying to strengthen its position in the competitive German market of news agencies, which includes Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA), French Agence France Presse (AFP) and the group of Thomson Reuters.

DAPD news agency's bankruptcy came as a surprise as it declared an expansion in 2011, buying French photo agency Sipa Press in July and started a sports service a month later. In January 2012, DAPD announced to open a news service in France, with a purchase of AP's French service.

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