EU steps into Rugby World Cup media row - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

EU steps into Rugby World Cup media row

By Mitch Phillips 07/09/2007 06:05:02 AM Comments (0)

The French government and the European Union waded into a Rugby World Cup media row by urging tournament officials to resume dialogue with the news agencies who have suspended all cover of the sport's premier event.

"(French Sports Minister) Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin has called International Rugby Board (IRB) chief executive Mike Miller to raise his awareness of the need to resume dialogue quickly in order not to spoil that great sports party that is the Rugby World Cup," the French sports ministry said in a statement.

The French foreign ministry also pressed for a quick solution to the dispute. The six-week tournament kicks off on Friday when hosts France play Argentina.

"It is important for the Rugby World Cup to benefit from the media coverage it deserves," a spokeswoman for the ministry told reporters. "We hope that an agreement satisfactory to all sides can be found."

Reuters, Agence France-Presse, Associated Press and Getty earlier announced, in an unprecedented move at a major sports event, they were suspending text, photographic and television coverage of pre-tournament events and training sessions.

The agencies, along with a worldwide coalition of newspaper groups, are concerned about Internet picture rights, television access and accreditation terms and have been frustrated by the organisers' reluctance to reach an agreement.

The tournament organisers, who accused media groups on Tuesday of staging "a misinformation campaign", say they have made concessions on all these areas but have retained the right to alter their terms and conditions at any time without consultation.

The EU's media chief also called for the dispute to be settled to avoid disruption to coverage.

EU information and media commissioner Viviane Reding told Reuters: "I am calling on both parties to come back to the negotiating table.

"Everything possible should be tried to ensure that such an important and valuable sporting event which is important to millions of Europeans and sports fans can be reported on as widely and (be as) available as possible."

Reuters issued a statement advising its clients of the suspension.

The main French journalists' union SNJ issued a statement saying it fully supported the action of the agencies.

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