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The cover image in question. (via News.Com.au)

Readers have complained about German magazine Die Aktuelle‘s bait-and-switch cover issue, Australia’s News.com.au reported.

Die Aktuelle is a weekly women’s magazine, according to Wikipedia.

The cover showed Michael Schumacher and his wife with the headline “Aufgewacht!” which means “awake” in German. Schumacher has been in a coma since December after a skiing accident. Schumacher is listed as “the most successful driver in Formula One history.”

But, despite the magazine’s cover, Schumacher is not “Awake!” He is still in a coma. The story the cover was teasing was about “a number of people who had woken up after a coma,” according to News.com.au.

A German media ethics expert, Christian Schicha, criticized the cover, News.com.au reported. Schicha called the cover “a clear attempt to deceive the readers” and “an obvious attempt to make money” off Schumacher.

“It is completely tasteless. It is ethically completely out of the question,” he said, adding that the cover was “irresponsible.”

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In an April 3 story, Schumacher’s manager Sabine Kehm commented on the state of Schumacher’s health, the Independent reported.

Kehm is quoted as saying, “there are signs that give us encouragement.”

According to the Daily Mail, Die Aktuelle hasn’t issued any statement about its cover yet.

iMediaEthics is writing to the magazine for further comment. We haven’t seen contact information for Schumacher’s manager Kehm. Schumacher’s official website states:

“We are deeply touched by all the messages to get well soon for Michael which still are being sent from all over the world. This incredible support gives us and him strength. Thank you all so much! We all know, Michael is a fighter and will not give up!”

In January, iMediaEthics reported on Kehm’s announcement that a journalist impersonated a priest to try to gain access to Schumacher’s hospital room.

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German magazine’s Michael Schumacher ‘Awake!’ cover misleads readers

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