World / Asia-Pacific

Sydney siege survivors to appear in paid-for TV interviews

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-01-21 10:47

SYDNEY - Ten of the surviving 18 hostages held in the Sydney siege last month are reported to have been paid a total of $1.23 million to appear on rival television networks.

Various Australian news outlets including News Corporation, the Daily Mail and the Guardian have reported deals have been made with eight survivors by the Nine Network.

News Corporation reported the Seven Network had secured deals with two hostages for a total of $410,000.

One of them, Marcia Mikhael, said through her lawyer that her reported $286,000 payment would be used to set up a foundation for hostages mentally affected by the siege, and also to support families of the two hostages killed.

A Nine Network spokesperson confirmed the interviews would air on its 60 Minutes program, believed to be on Feb 8 - the start of the local TV ratings season.

But the spokesperson would not comment on the varying figures being reported by news outlets.

Fairfax Media claimed the eight hostages to appear on 60 Minutes had been paid a total of $820,000.

The Seven Network has not commented on the speculation.

Nine News released a quote from cafe worker Harriette Denny from the 60 Minutes interview, who revealed she feared the hostage taker Man Haron Monis would kill them.

"We had to beg for our lives," she said. "He was going to shoot someone."

Hostages Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson, as well as the gunman Monis, were killed in the 17 hour siege which started on Dec 15 in the Lindt Cafe in the city's CBD and ended in the early hours of next day.

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