The Freedom Online Coalition (hereinafter – the Coalition) is a partnership of governments committed to work together to support Internet freedom and protect fundamental human rights – freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and rights to privacy in virtual environment. The Coalition was established in 2011 at the inaugural conference in the Netherlands, and Latvia joined it on 7 December 2012.
The Coalition members share information on freedom of expression and protection of other human rights and fundamental freedoms online on regular basis; organise events to promote the protection thereof; work together in various international fora; and engage with information and communication technology (ICT) companies and civil society.
The principles that underpin the activities of the Coalition are the promotion of cooperation between countries from various regions of the world and application of the multi-stakeholder approach, which has as its foundation the engagement of all the parties involved - including governments, international organisations, the private sector, civil society, academia and ICT experts.
Since its establishment, the Coalition has grown from 15 to 30 member countries. The Coalition was established in 2011 by Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Ghana, Ireland, Kenya, the Republic of Maldives, Mexico, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Costa Rica, Finland, Latvia and Tunisia joined the Coalition in 2012, Georgia and Germany – in 2013; Japan, Lithuania and Moldova – in 2014; Australia, New Zealand, Norway and Poland – in 2015. As the most recent member Argentina joined the Coalition in 2016.
The Coalition hosts annual multi-stakeholder conferences. So far, Freedom Online Conferences have been held in the Netherlands, Kenya, Tunisia, Estonia, Mongolia and Costa Rica.
With support from the Coalition, the Digital Defenders Partnership was launched – a grant making mechanism to provide support for projects designed for quick response assurance to a range of emerging threats to internet freedom and protection of human rights online. The fund began its practical operations in 2013 and covers Central Asia, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Central America. From 2013 till 2016, Latvia has made a voluntary contribution of USD 10,000 to the fund.