Swedish royal wedding boycotted by news agencies

cablesGlobal exposure of the Swedish royal wedding was seriously affected by a row over rights, according to Sveriges Television (SVT). The Swedish broadcasting company is said to be sending a strongly-worded letter to Reuters, AFP and AP news agencies who boycotted the regal event.

Footage of the wedding between Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel was shunned by the news groups when they learnt of a contractual clause that only allowed them to broadcast their 90 seconds of purchased film footage for 48 hours.

Shortly before the wedding was due to start on Saturday, AFP said in a statement to its subscribers, “due to restrictions by Swedish public television SVT on images of the marriage … (AFP) will not distribute text, photos, or videos” of the event.

AFP’s video service head Christine Buhagiar was also reported as saying that the amount requested by SVT “largely surpasses the market price.” STV has, however, claimed that the cost of the footage was standard.

Sweden may have lost valuable publicity as a result of the row, according to The Local, and many articles in small publications were printed without pictures. The foreign ministry, who had been allocated additional funds to supply information about the wedding, also had their work cut short.

In an email to broadcaster Royal Court, who negotiated the rights with SVT, the agencies explained, “owing to the impasse over unrestricted television news access to today’s wedding ceremony, Reuters, AFP and the Associated Press have decided to withdraw from coverage of the event.”

Philippe Massonnet, AFP global news director, said: “This battle aims to enable us to better inform the public,” adding that coverage of large events is becoming “increasingly commercialised.”

“This has become common in sports but now affects all kinds of events, especially involving celebrities,” he said.

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