Strengthening the Internet for Free Expression and Innovation

August 10th - 13th, 2014 • Aspen, CO

Past Event:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 23, 2014 – Leaders and experts from the public and private sectors will meet to discuss innovative ways to strengthen the Internet to promote free expression, personal choice and a secure and vibrant economy at a roundtable discussion next month in Aspen, Colo. The event, taking place Aug. 10-13, will be streamed live at

The annual Forum on Communications and Society (FOCAS), a project of the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program, explores how public policy and private initiatives can better serve communities. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which promotes informed and engaged communities, is the forum’s sponsor.

This year’s FOCAS, “Strengthening the Internet for Free Expression and Innovation,” will bring together 35 experts in a roundtable and working group format. Experts will develop approaches to encourage innovation and openness on the Internet. Additionally, the group will come up with innovative solutions for government, businesses and individuals to help ensure the Internet remains an open and equitable platform for free expression, commerce and learning. An interactive report detailing these findings and recommendations will be published online later this year.

“The goal of FOCAS is to help frame complex issues surrounding the flow of content and commerce over the Internet, our global common medium and to arrive at actionable steps for moving in the right direction,” said Charlie Firestone, executive director of the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program.

“The vision of the Internet as an open, accessible forum for shared ideas, learning and information is fading; we have to preserve it,” said Michael Maness, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism and media innovation. “In order to do so we need people to step up and take action; this year’s FOCAS is about doing just that by bringing influencers together to innovate around the challenges facing the Internet today and safeguarding it into the future.”

Participants in this year’s FOCAS will include established leaders in the field, heads of emerging startups, nonprofit directors and government officials including Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Mozilla Foundation Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker, Kickstarter co-founder and CEO Yancey Strickler and New York Public Library President and CEO Tony Marx.

“Strengthening the Internet for Free Expression and Innovation” will mark the ninth year that FOCAS is live streaming the event on the Web, with support from Knight Foundation. FOCAS 2014 will stream live at at 8:45 a.m. MDT Aug. 11-13. Viewers are invited to follow the discussion on twitter @AspenInstitute and @AspenCS and to tweet about the event using #FOCAS14.

Location Details

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The Aspen Institute

Aspen, Colorado
United States

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