Chatham House Rules in the Twitter Era

John Rentoul

090308 chathamhouse 225x300 Chatham House Rules in the Twitter EraAlastair Campbell repeated in yesterday’s Financial Times his dictum that, at least for most people in the public eye, “life is on the record”, and that it is difficult for the famous Chatham House rule to survive in a world with Twitter and Facebook. The Guardian reports that Keith Burnet, the communications director of what does not even call itself the Royal Institute of International Affairs any more, begs to differ:

The rule can be used effectively as long as the person tweeting or messaging reports only what was said and does not identify – directly or indirectly – the speaker or another participant.

Now may be the time to recall the basics of the Chatham House rule as explained to me by Simon Walters, political editor of the Mail on Sunday: “We Chatham up and put it in the paper.”

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