Wednesday 25 August 2010

Journalist wins case over Girl in the Cellar book

A British journalist has won a High Court libel action in Austria over claims he made up interviews for a book.
Michael Leidig, who owns and runs the news agency Central European News Ltd and is vice chairman of the National Association of Press Agencies, wrote the book about Austrian girl Natascha Kampusch.
She was kidnapped on the way to school at the age of 10 and kept locked in a cellar for 8 years. Her kidnapper Wolfgang Priklopil killed himself under the wheels of a train after she escaped and Leidig’s book – Girl in the Cellar - was published at the end of November 2006.
The court action involved a press release sent out by Rupert Leutgeb, who was a PR advisor to the girl’s family, alleging that the book contained interviews which were made up.
Now the Austrian High Court, has ruled three interviews alleged to have been made up had taken place. The court said: "It is obvious that the defendant's allegations and reports seriously damaged the reputation of the plaintiff and constricted his work as a serious journalist.
The court ordered that the PR advisor fund the cost of organising retractions in all the publications that carried the untrue allegations - and also to pay costs and damages to Leidig."

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