What is Foc, the alliance for online rights to which Italy has joined
By Mattia Soldi | 09/08/2021
Italy joins the Freedom online coalition (Foc), a coalition of 33 states that has defended human rights online for ten years, inaugurated in The Hague with a speech by Hillary Clinton. Mission: to put a stop to authoritarianism via the internet (such as that of Russia and China). Della Vedova: committed to freedom on the web
Italy strikes a blow on human rights, online. Ten years after its foundation, the Freedom Online Coalition (Foc), a coalition of states born in 2011 with the mission of “promoting democracy and human rights online”, announces the accession of Italy as the 33rd partner.
Launched ten years ago at the Hague Conference with an inaugural speech by the then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Foc has over the years become a reference for the fight against the repression of rights and freedoms on the web. It meets once a year and counts on the membership of countries from all over the world, from Argentina to Poland, from France to New Zealand. “Italy is a convinced advocate for the protection of democratic spaces in line with the principles of the Foc and often engages in discussions with various stakeholders – reads a press release from the organization, which adds an applause to the” Declaration of internet rights “, Document drawn up by a bicameral commission of the Italian Parliament in July 2015.
Benedetto della Vedova, Deputy Foreign Minister rejoices: “We are thrilled to join the Freedom online coalition, a group of partners and friends from different parts of the world – he said in a note – with them we share the commitment to support internet freedom as well. how to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, online and offline “.
The declaration of the Hague, pillar of the coalition, marks some milestones to defend online freedom. Among these, renounce the practices of authoritarian regimes that use the internet to suppress freedom of expression and silence dissidents.
“Since some governments are increasingly making use of a variety of measures to limit these freedoms – the document reads – such as illicit monitoring, filtering and hacking, on and off-line repression of network users, intimidation and arrests and even the complete shutdown of the internet and mobile networks […] we will work closely together to aid – both politically and through support projects – the ability of individuals, particularly those operating in repressive environments, to exercise their human rights through the internet and connection technologies “.
It is not just rhetoric: dozens of countries in the world today censor the web and limit user access. This is the case of Russia, which, according to a recent document by Reporters Without Borders, with the new media law “has created a suffocating atmosphere for independent journalists” along with “draconian laws, blocking of sites, internet cuts and the main media held back or made to disappear “.