updated 10/18/2004 5:52:08 AM ET 2004-10-18T09:52:08

Watch a movie or make a mobile phone call. Soon, in France, you might not be able to do both at once.

The government's industry minister has approved a decision to let cinemas, concert halls and theaters install cell phone jammers -- on condition that emergency calls can still get through, officials said Monday.

Jean Labbe, president of the National Federation of French Cinemas, said the measure was a response to "a long-standing request" from cinemas of all sizes.

Cinemas have invested heavily to improve comfort, and "the authorization of jammers is the cherry on the cake," he told France Info radio.

Industry Minister Patrick Devedjian gave the go-ahead Friday, backing a decision by the Telecommunications Regulation Authority to allow jammers, his ministry said in a statement.

Devedjian specified however that emergency calls and calls made outside theaters and other performance spaces must not be affected.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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