Annual Conference

Once a year, the FOC holds a multistakeholder conference that aims to deepen the discussion on how freedom of expression on the Internet is helping to promote social, cultural and economic development.
The conference offers an open platform for discussion among all stakeholders – governments, civil society, the private sector, and others – to share relevant information, develop joint strategies and combine efforts towards their mutual goal of a human rights based Internet.

The multistakeholder conferences offer a space for civil society to discuss issues of concern and share their perspectives on an equal footing with key governments. This is encouraged through funding packages provided by the Coalition and aimed especially at civil society participants from the global South, and the region in which the respective conference is taking place. In Tunis, an NGO steering committee assisted in setting the Conference agenda and was able to suggest topics, moderators and speakers for the Conference sessions. In Tallinn, a multistakeholder group drafted a set of recommendations for Freedom Online that were subsequently approved by the FOC governments as the Tallinn Agenda – Recommendations for Freedom Online. 

Costa Rica 2016+

The sixth annual Freedom Online Conference took place from 17-18 October 2016, in San Jose, Costa Rica.

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Ulaanbaatar 2015+

The fifth annual Freedom Online Conference, hosted by Mongolia took place in Ulaanbaatar on the 4th and 5th of May, 2015.
Representatives from governments, private sector and civil society met to discuss current threats to freedom online and opportunities to strengthen the protection of fundamental freedoms and human rights, with the overarching theme for the conference being “Internet Policy Making – Best Practices for Promoting Online Freedom.”

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Tallinn 2014+

In April 2014, Estonia hosted the fourth annual Freedom Online Coalition conference. Under the title ‘Free and Secure Internet for All’, the main focus across 19 plenary and panel discussions was how to protect and strengthen freedom online in the face of new challenges and the complex and hotly debated subject of Internet governance.

More than 400 delegates from over 60 countries gathered at the event in the Estonian capital of Tallinn with representatives from government, business and civil society. The event was organized around three broad themes: fundamental freedoms online; how private companies can advance freedom online; and lastly, Internet governance and the importance of preserving Internet’s un-fragmented nature.

Following the discussions, the Coalition members jointly adopted a set of “Recommendations for Freedom Online“, also known as the Tallinn Recommendations.

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Tunis 2013+

Tunisia organized the third Freedom Online meeting in Tunis in June 2013, in which the central themes of the first Freedom Online conference were built upon. The conference aimed to provide a multistakeholder platform to discuss issues of Internet freedom with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa.

In light of the Arab Spring, hosting the Freedom Online conferences was an important step for Tunisia to lead by example towards building a better Internet governance model where online human rights principles are guaranteed.

The conference was structured around three core questions of Internet Freedom, namely “How can we work towards an Internet that remains both free and secure?”, “How can we build a digital development agenda that allows more people access to Internet and ICT?” and thirdly “How do we assure that both companies and governments assure transparency and privacy on the Internet?”

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Nairobi 2012+

The Kenyan government hosted the second Freedom Online Conference in Nairobi on September 6-7 2012, which focused on the importance of Internet freedom in fostering development. It underlined the need to support individuals, particularly those working in repressive regimes, in exercising human rights through the Internet and to engage with ICT businesses.

The conference in Nairobi included lively debates about, among other topics, issues of access, online business, safety and rights of citizens online.

One particularly positive outcome of the meeting was the foundation of the Digital Defenders Partnership.

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The Hague 2011+

During the first Freedom Online conference in The Hague in December 2011, the Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal launched the Freedom Online Coalition with the clear vision to promote Internet freedom worldwide.

The two day event aimed to facilitate a dialogue about the responsibility of governments across the world to further freedom of expression, association and assembly on the Internet, in close consultation with companies, NGOs, representatives of international organisations and experts.

Following the Conferences, 15 countries established the Freedom Online Coalition by jointly endorsing the outcome declaration “Freedom Online: Joint Action for Free Expression on the Internet”.

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