Chatham House: Independent thinking on international affairs

Information for Journalists

Reference to Chatham House

We would be extremely grateful if all journalists could, when reporting on events, include the fact that the conference has been organized by Chatham House.

Chatham House is officially called The Royal Institute of International Affairs. If it is necessary to refer to its formal name, we would suggest using the following phrase:

". . . . Chatham House, the home of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, . . . . "

Press Pass Requests

Due to space limitations, it is normally necessary to limit the issuing of press passes to journalists from national broadcasters and newspapers.

Security

For security reasons, it is vital that all journalists register in advance and bring press accreditation in the form of an official valid press card issued by one of the following organizations:

  • The UK Press Card Authority
  • The European Press Federation

At some events, it may be necessary for Chatham House or the police to reconfirm your identity. Therefore, holders of cards issued by the UK Press Card Authority should ensure they know the password linked to their card number. Holders of cards issued by The European Press Federation should ensure they know the postcode under which they are registered.

International journalists holding other forms of accreditation are requested to provide full details of their organization so their status can be confirmed with their office.

Recording

Audio and video recording of conferences is permitted when the session, or part of the session, is being held on-the-record. Recording is not permitted at any other time.

Photography

Press photography is not normally permitted at Chatham House Conferences. Please be aware that an official photographer may be present but pictures taken are not publicly available.

The Chatham House Rule

Most Chatham House Conferences are held under the Chatham House Rule which states:

"When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed."

The Spirit of the Rule

The Chatham House Rule is intended to encourage open debate, but not to stifle press coverage of presentations and discussion. We always work to apply the rule sensibly, thoughtfully and to the benefit of journalists.

In addition, most keynote speakers will make their address on-the-record, and other speakers may be available for interview between conference sessions. Chatham House Conferences will be pleased to help set up interviews.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Chatham House Rule

Q: Does the rule mean comments can not be reported?
A: No, comments can be reported, however neither the identity of the speaker nor their affiliation, i.e. who they work for, must be revealed.

Q: How can I report on comments made?
A: You can attribute comments made during the day when you have the permission of the speaker. If you wish to attribute a comment or presentation given during a conference then you must simply ask the participant directly if you may report their comments on-the-record. You can also arrange on-the-record interviews outside of conference sessions. The entire conference day is under the Rule, including refreshment breaks, lunch and drinks receptions. Therefore all comments made during these times are under the Rule unless otherwise agreed with the relevant person.

Q: Can I refer to where the comments were made?
A:
Yes, you can report on "what", "where" and "when", just not "who". For example a comment could be reported in the following way:

"Senior figures gathered today at international think tank Chatham House for a conference, sponsored by xxx, focusing on the issue of xxxx, during which it was noted by one speaker that xxxx."

Q: When reporting comments can I refer to the type of organization to which the speaker is affiliated?
A: No, you must not use phrases such as "a senior government source" etc as this could allow comments to be attributed by the inference of readers.

Q: Can I say who attended the conference if I don't attribute comments?
A:
No, you must not report on the identities or affiliations of speakers, delegates or other attendees at the event as this could then enable reported comments to be attributed by the inference of readers.

Q: What are the implications if the Rule is not followed?
A:
If a journalist breaks the Chatham House Rule neither he/she, nor any other reporters from their organization, will be admitted to future events.

Moore Wilson Digital Agency London