2019 Global SOF Symposium - Europe
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These Ground Rules are specific to the 2019 Global SOF Symposium - Belgium, 1-3 OCTOBER 2019 at the Le Plaza Hotel in Brussels. This event is open to all accredited and registered journalists. Failure to adhere to the prescribed ground rules may result in dismissal from the Symposium.


  • All media, including print, broadcast, radio and social media, must be approved to attend by the Belgian Ministry of Defense. Send your request to Alex Claesen, DG StratCom, +32 475 84 53 28, Alex.Claesen@mil.be.
  • You will be asked to provide proof of employment as a member of the media to gain access to event sessions and the exhibit hall. It is required that media credentials are presented such as: press passes, business cards, letters of verification and other identification be provided when pre-registering, registering onsite or when picking up a pre-registered media/press badge. The above also applies for photojournalists/videographers.
  • Event organizers can refuse to issue media credentials for any individual. Advertising, marketing, business development, publishers, business operations, and public relations personnel may not register as media.

Ground Rules

  • Journalists cannot freely approach Symposium speakers without prior notification to Ms. Chelsea Hamashin, GSF Director of Marketing, but they may approach Symposium attendees and GSF staff as appropriate.
  • All speakers, guests, and GSF staff have the right to refuse any discussion with media. Some guest speakers, due to their subject matter or security concerns, may request a closed session. GSF may also independently record and interview with the interviewee’s approval.
  • Media must wear credentials at all times and identify themselves before speaking with any symposium guest.
  • Keynote Sessions and SOF Slams are open to the media and on-the-record.
  • Panel Discussions are held under Chatham House Rule.
  • Government-Only and Corporate Partner-Only sessions are not open to the media.
  • Media are invited to social events (e.g., evening receptions) but are prohibited from conducting interviews. Photography and filming are prohibited.
  • The GSF staff will do its best to provide a separate office to media upon request for one-on-one interviews.
  • Social sharing from an open session or in a common area is authorized using the #GSSBelgium
  • Live streaming is not authorized.
  • GSF does not have the ability to provide transcripts but will ask the speaker to provide them upon request. Speakers are under no obligation to provide transcripts, notes or any written material to GSF or any journalist.

Contact Information

Definition of Terms

On the Record
Information may be quoted directly and attributed to the official by name and title.

On Background
The official's remarks may be quoted directly or paraphrased and are attributed to a "Subject matter expert" or a “GSF Official," as mutually determined by the official and the media member.

On Deep Background
The source cannot be quoted or identified in any manner, not even as "an unnamed source." The information is usually couched in such phrases as "it is understood that" or "it has been learned." The information may be used to help present the story or to gain a better understanding of the subject, but the knowledge is that of the reporter, not the source.

Off the Record
Nothing of what the journalist is told may be used in the story. The information is meant only for the education of the reporter.

Chatham House Rule
Journalists 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.