Verbatim reporting on the left screen and speaker on the right screen in the conference hall of the Internet Governance Forum 2010. Credit: Franck K
Verbatim reporting is the transcribing of verbal interventions (speeches and debates) simultaneously by special stenographers. While participants are speaking, transcripts of their speeches appear on the screen in the conference room. Transcripts are immediately distributed via the Internet and stored at the IGF website for future reference. This practice was introduced by ICANN, and later on introduced by the IGF and the ITU. It is an example of a positive cross-fertilisation of practices in modern diplomacy.
Everything what was said remains saved in the text. The old Latin proverb verba volant, scripta manet becomes obsolete! Verbatim reporting has had an important effect on the diplomatic modus operandi. The awareness that what is said will be preserved in print makes participants more careful in choosing the level and length of their verbal interventions. Verbatim reporting also increases the transparency of diplomatic meetings.