The world-famous Chatham House Rule may be invoked at meetings to encourage openenss and the sharing of information.
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EXPLANATION of the Rule
The Rule originated at Chatham House with the aim of providing anonymity to speakers and to encourage openness and the sharing of information. It is now used throughout the world as an aid to free and open discussion. Meetings do not have to take place at Chatham House, or be organized by Chatham House, to be held under the Rule.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Q. What are the benefits of using the Rule?
A. The Rule allows people to speak openly and to express views that they may not otherwise express if they knew their comments would be shared publicly. By encouraging free expression without attribution ideas are likely to be shared and tested more readily.
Q. Can speakers at a meeting be named publicly?
A. Yes, although it is important to abide by the spirit of the Rule and to ensure that this will not cause what is said at the meeting to be attributed to the speaker at a later date.
For example, a speaker can be named in advance of an event for publicity purposes and a summary of the discussion can be circulated afterwards. However, the summary should contain nothing that identifies, either explicitly or implicitly, who said what.
Q. Can I Tweet whilst at an event held under the Chatham House Rule?
A. The Rule can be used effectively on social media sites such as Twitter as long as the person tweeting or messaging reports only what is being said and does not directly or indirectly identify the speaker or any other participant. This principle should always guide the way in which information is disseminated - online as well as offline.
Q. Who is most likely to use the Rule?
A. It is widely used by individuals working in government, business, legal firms, academia, the media and policy institutes and think tanks. The Rule is used internationally and has become a byword for authoritative information and ideas.
Q. Can a list of attendees at the meeting be published?
A. The list of attendees should not be circulated beyond those participating in the meeting.
Q. How is the Rule enforced?
A. The Rule depends on its success on being seen as morally binding. If an individual breaks the Rule sanctions may be taken against him or her that may involve that person not being invited to participate in similar events in the future.
Q. When was the Rule devised?
A. In 1927 and refined in 1992 and 2002.
Q. Should one refer to the Chatham House Rule or the Chatham House Rules?
A. There is only one Rule.
Q. Is the Rule used for all meetings at Chatham House?
A. Not often for Members Events; more frequently for smaller research meetings, for example where work in progress is discussed or when subject matter is politically sensitive. Most Chatham House conferences are held under the Rule.
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