I’ve been posting a bit about the weird and restrictive approach to media taken by the organizers at the Pacific Health Summit.
Now, I think these summiteers are all good people and that they probably mean well. But their approach to media reminds me of George Orwell. I got in trouble with them yesterday, simply for asking a question during one of the sessions, and so I decided to write about it.
That didn’t help. I still felt bad. So I was delighted to see that a development and climate change expert I have high regard for, Ed Carr at the University of South Carolina, has come to my defense and in favor of encouraging open dialogue, even with media.
Here’s what Ed says on my behalf in his blog Open the Echo Chamber.
SIDE NOTE: The Pacific Health Summit’s version of “Chatham House Rules” are actually much more restrictive than the real Chatham House Rules in London.
In London’s Chatham House, most meetings are on-the-record and even for the off-record talks you are allowed to report what was said. You just can’t identify who said it without getting their permission. At Seattle’s Pacific Health Summit, journalists are prohibited from reporting anything anyone says, with or without attribution, unless we get their permission. And, as I discovered, only “guest journalists” are allowed to ask questions in the sessions.
By the way, here’s a video of a recent meeting at the London Chatham House on “The Rise of Global Health in International Affairs” featuring WHO Director General Dr. Margaret Chan (who will be at the Pacific Health Summit today … but who I was told is not available for interviews).