September 4, 2006

Austrian hostage girl to give first interview

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian Natascha Kampusch will give her
first interview about her eight-year hostage ordeal on
Wednesday to state broadcaster ORF, her adviser Dietmar Ecker
said on Monday, although apparently her image will not be

Kampusch, whose fate has mesmerized Austria since sprinting
to her freedom last month, has been at the center of an
international media frenzy since she escaped from her small
cell beneath a garage where she had been kept since 1998.

"It goes without saying for Natascha Kampusch that the
people of Austria -- especially those who have feared for her
life eight years ago and who have been so happy about her
escape -- have a priority to be informed," Ecker said in a

"This is why Natascha Kampusch will give her first big
interview to the ORF," he said.

Kampusch, now 18, dashed to freedom on August 23 during a
moment when her captor Wolfgang Priklopil was distracted away
from watching her vacuum his BMW automobile.

The communications technician had abducted her on her way
to school and kept Kampusch locked up in the small, windowless
cell in a sedate commuter town of Strasshof just outside
Vienna. He later killed himself by jumping under a train.

So far, Kampusch's only public comment was a statement read
out by a psychiatrist at a news conference last week.

In it, she said she would not answer intimate questions and
asked the media to be patient until she was ready to tell the
story herself.

But Ecker said Kampusch would not be recognizable. So far
media have used pictures taken before she was abducted or
computer-created images of her instead of real pictures.

"(She will not be shown) so that you could recognize her on
the street afterwards," Ecker told APA. "She will be

International news organizations have bid hundreds of
thousands of dollars to secure rights to Kampusch's first
interview, according to Austrian media reports.

Kampusch has declined some very high offers, Ecker told
Austrian news agency APA, without giving any details.

ORF said it would not pay for the interview but would
market the broadcast rights internationally and pass on the
proceeds to Kampusch.

However, daily newspaper Kronen-Zeitung and weekly magazine
News, which will be the only print media to jointly interview
her, have offered her career and educational support as well as
help with housing, Ecker said.

Their interviews will also be published on Wednesday.

ORF said it would broadcast the interview on Wednesday at
1815 GMT after recording it on Tuesday. The broadcaster said it
did not know how long the interview would be.

"That really depends on her psychological condition," an
ORF spokesman said.