News agencies boycott Cannes briefing over access

Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:45am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - News agencies Agence France-Press, Associated Press, Getty Images and Reuters said on Wednesday they would boycott a press conference announcing the lineup at this year's Cannes film festival due to a dispute over video access.

The briefing, to be held in Paris on Thursday, is the most important ahead of the May 12-23 event, the world's largest film festival.

"Reuters will not cover the Cannes press conference tomorrow because of the unfair restrictions being placed on coverage," said Christoph Pleitgen, Global Head of News Agency for Thomson Reuters. "We invite the rights holders and organizers to clearly spell out the suggested terms and look forward to a constructive discussion.

"We are hopeful that we will be able to provide complete and comprehensive coverage of this important event to our customers and their audiences around the world."

The agencies said in an advisory to clients earlier this month that festival organizers may place "severe restrictions" on video coverage from the red carpet and news conferences.

"Clients should be aware of and plan for the fact that if an agreement cannot be reached, the video news agencies will be unable to deliver the full range of coverage and may be forced to suspend their presence at the festival altogether," they said in the April 6 note.

The new limitations are linked to a contract between the Cannes film festival and French broadcaster Canal Plus and pay-TV service Orange.

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

<p>An unidentified guest arrives for the screening of the film "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" out of competition at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival May 22, 2009. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann</p>