The Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) has announced that Canada has assumed the Chairship of the coalition, a partnership of 34 governments working together to advance Internet freedom around the world.
The Coalition said as disclosed by the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, at the Paris Peace Forum in November 2021 Canada’s FOC Chairship will be guided by a shared vision of democracy in the digital age, namely digital inclusion: informed and engaged publics that can participate meaningfully in society, both online and offline.
Digital inclusion rests on four pillars: reliable and meaningful connectivity and access, bridging digital divides worldwide; digital literacy, ensuring all users are empowered to navigate the online ecosystem; civic participation, free from oppressive practices such as unduly restrictive censorship and Internet disruptions and shutdowns; and promoting the safety for every one of the online ecosystem.
Canada has also expressed its commitment to advancing the FOC’s mission by working with FOC Member States and FOC Advisory Network members from civil society, academia and industry to redouble shared efforts to advance Internet freedom and human rights online.
The FOC advances digital inclusion by shaping global norms and expanding diplomatic networks, promoting multi-stakeholder engagement, and ramping up advocacy, communication and outreach.
Throughout 2022, Canada will be supported by the Friends of the Chair, who will provide advice and support it in the successful implementation of the Programme of Action. The 2022 Friends of the Chair, following an internal selection process, comprised Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The Coalition continues to rely on the expertise of the FOC Advisory Network, instrumental in facilitating multi-stakeholder collaboration and providing advice on the aims and activities of the FOC.
The chairship of the Coalition rotates among member states on an annual basis and has previously been held by Finland, Ghana, Germany, Costa Rica, Mongolia, Estonia, Tunisia, Kenya and the Netherlands.