About

THE FREEDOM ONLINE COALITION

is a partnership of 31 governments, working to advance Internet freedom. Coalition members work closely together to coordinate their diplomatic efforts and engage with civil society and the private sector to support Internet freedom – free expression, association, assembly, and privacy online – worldwide.

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THE ANNUAL FREEDOM ONLINE CONFERENCE

is the flagship event of the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC), bringing together governments and stakeholders from around the world to discuss the most urgent challenges to the realization of human rights online. This year, the Conference will take place at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra, Ghana from 6-7 February.

CONFERENCE AIMS

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.

ONGOING CHALLENGES TO FREEDOM ONLINE

The Internet continues to facilitate innovative and invaluable opportunities for individuals to exercise their rights. At the same time, it can be infiltrated, co-opted, or leveraged by governments and other actors to enact restrictions on the exercise of human rights. 

Globally, state-sponsored restrictions to human rights online continue to limit and challenge Internet freedom, and the closing of civic space worldwide, both online and offline, exacerbates this challenge. Debates surrounding cybersecurity, emerging technology, and disinformation continue to challenge all stakeholders when seeking rights-respecting regulatory frameworks or non-regulatory solutions. Meanwhile, access to the Internet remains an obstacle for many as digital divides continue to exacerbate existing inequalities, threatening the realisation of digital inclusion. 

Responding to these challenges, FOC Members continue to work closely together to coordinate their diplomatic efforts, shape global norms, and engage with civil society and the private sector to support Internet freedom – free expression, association, assembly, and privacy online – worldwide. 

The challenges are many, and the stakes are high. Now, more than ever, there is a need for concentrated action by governments and other stakeholders to promote and protect human rights in the digital environment.

CONFERENCE AIMS

The focus of the FO Conference 2020, Achieving a Common Vision for Internet Freedom, recognises the significance of convening key actors to renew commitments and pathways towards a rights-respecting framework for Internet freedom through achieving certain key goals.  

The Conference will provide a unique forum to re-examine the state of play of current and arising challenges to freedom online, exchange perspectives and identify possible solutions. With Ghana at the helm, the Conference will put particular emphasis on reviewing the current state of digital rights across Africa, outlining strategies for improving digital rights on the continent, and globally.

To do this, the Conference will seek to establish a common understanding across stakeholder groups of the respective challenges, and derive a shared understanding of the responsibilities and need for action by the respective stakeholder groups, with a sharing of ideas and best practices for possible solutions.

CODE OF CONDUCT

The Freedom Online Conference is an inclusive and diverse forum with participants from across a range of backgrounds. We place a high premium on ensuring that the Conference is an open and safe venue for every attendee, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, ethnicity, religion, or disability.

We request that all those associated with the Freedom Online Conference, including participants, organizers, and staff, to follow our Code of Conduct and understand the repercussions of any violations.

The Freedom Online Conference team will also announce house rules and updates throughout the Conference, which we request all the stakeholders to follow as well.

VIOLATIONS OF THE CODE OF CONDUCT

We expect all those involved to abide by our expected conduct guidelines and respect our anti-harassment policy during the conference. This includes Conference-related social events and online social media engagement

If asked by the Conference organizers to cease prohibited behaviour, you are expected to comply immediately. If inappropriate behavior persists, the Conference organizers may take any action they deem appropriate, including immediate expulsion from the Conference and/or reporting to appropriate authorities.

RESOURCES

Reporting inappropriate conduct

If you are being harassed by a participant at the Freedom Online Conference, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have concerns about other conduct, please contact us as soon as possible. The Freedom Online Conference has designated staff for receiving reports and an established procedure for handling incidents of harassment.

Contacts

You can reach out to anyone on our Code of Conduct team by emailing the FOC Support Unit on info@freedomonlineconference.com or Charles Bradley on charles@gp-digital.org. We will work to ensure your safety, privacy, and the confidentiality of the report itself and the information that you are sharing.

EXPECTED CONDUCT

We expect all those involved to display the highest level of professionalism throughout the conference, this conduct includes, but is not limited to:

Photography

The Freedom Online Conference is an on-the-record and open event. Photographs can be taken and used for promotional and social media purposes of all participants and speakers, except those who have indicated they would not like their photograph taken. This is indicated on their name badge.

Attendance and Dress Code

We restrict access to the Freedom Online Conference to registered participants with valid name badge. All participants must attend the conference in appropriate attire (business formal / traditional clothing).

Conference Participation

Please be respectful, understanding, and mindful of fellow participants. Conversations should be framed in an open and inclusive manner. Profanity or slurs are strictly prohibited. If you choose to attend a panel discussion, we request you to stay seated for the entire duration of the event, unless asked otherwise.

Drugs and Alcohol

We abide by and enforce all local and national laws and regulations surrounding possession and/or use of illegal substances. In addition, please limit tobacco use to permitted areas and consume alcohol in moderation.

Safety

We hope that our participants accept a shared responsibility of conference safety and notify conference organisers of any danger or misconduct they may witness. The possession of weapons or violence in any form is not permitted. In an effort to ensure order throughout the conference, we do not permit organized demonstrations or disruptions of any kind.

ANTI-HARASSMENT POLICY

We do not tolerate any form of harassment at the Freedom Online Conference. Our zero-tolerance policy prohibits all forms of harassment including, but not limited to:

  • Offensive or derogatory comments related to gender, sexual orientation, nationality, ethnicity, religion, or disability;
  • Offensive or derogatory comments towards other participants, opinions, or personal expressions;
  • Sexual comments or unwanted physical contact;
  • The display of inappropriate images or memorabilia;
  • Violence, intimidation, threats; or stalking;
  • Inappropriate or unwanted social contact with other participants; and
  • Excessive or unwanted photography or videography of conference participants and organizers.