PRESENTATION OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FREEDOM ONLINE

Presentation of the Coalition’s Recommendations – The Tallinn Agenda

The recommendations panel led by Mr Viik began in a very positive light, as it provided the official presentation to the Tallinn Agenda for Freedom Online, which had been adopted only about 1,5 hours before by the ministers and heads of delegations of the FOC member states in a special Coalition meeting. However, the first panelist, Dunja Mijatovic, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, cautioned against being overly enthusiastic. She said that even FOC members should still be critiqued in terms of human rights online and called for creating an annual report card that would evaluate the actions of members and non-members regarding Internet freedom. Next, Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet emphasized that implementing the recommendations will be more challenging and more meaningful than declaring them. Paet welcomed new members Moldova and Japan to the coalition and called on all FOC countries to continue to stand for the principles of transparency, accountability, anti-corruption, and human rights online and offline. The representative of Mexico, Jorge Abraham Soto Moreno outlined his vision for how the Internet can change politics in Mexico, saying that what is needed is a government that understands and embraces the Internet as a positive force in health, education, civic participation, two-way communication, and countless other areas. Moreno stressed that security shouldn’t be used as an excuse to limit freedom of expression online, and that using IT strategies to put the citizen at the center of governance has considerable potential to foster civic innovation and build trusting communities. Finally, Japanese Ambassador Jun Shimmi highlighted the importance of the Internet in Japan during the tsunami catastrophe three years ago, when social media played a key role in finding victims, coordinating volunteers, and supporting recovery efforts overall. Shimmi said that his country, as a new member of the FOC, is committed to encouraging the application of the principles of the Tallinn Agenda through engagement with its partners in ASEAN, Central Asia, and beyond. All in all, the panel agreed that the Tallinn Agenda provided an important and useful platform for the future. And that from now on, the focus must be on implementing it.