France blocks cell phone use at theaters

PARIS, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- The French government has approved installation of signal blockers at cinemas and other venues to prevent ringing cell phones from disturbing performances.

The move, instigated by France's Telecommunications Regulation Authority, comes after requests by French cinema owners working to improve the movie theater experience for consumers, the BBC reported Tuesday.


"The authorization of jammers is the cherry on the cake," said Jean Labbe, president of the National Federation of French Cinemas.

Emergency calls and calls outside the performance area of cinemas, theaters and concert halls will still be permitted.

Last year, Ireland's communications regulator told Dublin cinema owners they were breaking the law by installing equipment to block cell phone signals and threatened the cinemas with fines.

In September, U.S. actor Kevin Spacey, made London's Old Vic theater a "phone-free zone" during his tenure as its artistic director.

"We certainly don't want them ringing and people ignoring them, pretending that it's not theirs," said Spacey. "My feeling is if people don't know how to behave they shouldn't come."

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