Media to boycott Cannes news conference

Backlash due to restrictions on video at the festival

PARIS -- Four major international news agencies -- AFP, AP, Reuters and Getty Images -- will boycott Thursday's Festival de Cannes news conference, the agencies confirmed Wednesday.

More Cannes coverage  
The boycott is a direct response to a decision by festival organizers to place restrictions on those agencies' video coverage of the festival because of exclusivity contracts signed with media sponsors French broadcaster Canal Plus and France Telecom pay TV subsidiary Orange.

"We're still trying to find a solution to the situation, but that hasn't been found yet so we don't feel that it is appropriate for us to cover the conference at this time," said Alison Crombie, senior director of global public relations for Getty Images. "We're in dialogue with the relevant people, but haven't yet come to a positive resolution."

The annual news conference in Paris brings local, national and international media together as festival director Thierry Fremaux announces the films selected for the event.

Discussions are ongoing with the festival and, according to Crombie, "We hope we can go back to normal programming." The agencies are not only protesting the restrictions, but also the lack of communication from the festival as far as the details of those restrictions are concerned.

"We invite the rights-holders and organizers to clearly spell out the suggested terms and look forward to a constructive discussion," said Christoph Pleitgen, managing director of Reuters News Agency.

The agencies have been in informal discussions with the principal players, but are requesting more detailed proposals before agreeing to cover the festival. It's not out of the question that the agencies will eventually pull out of the festival completely. The agencies feel that the fest is a public event and a Canal Plus or Orange exclusivity contract is unfair.

The Festival de Cannes news conference will be held Thursday morning at Paris' Le Grand Hotel Intercontinental.
comments powered by Disqus