Li Chengpeng is used to being in the spotlight and comfortable as photographers’ flashes light up his face. But what he said at The Bobs award ceremony was anything but routine. Instead of a cookie-cutter speech, the Chinese blogger talked about the last award he won: back in fourth grade when he made up a story of giving the police a yuan he found on the ground – but the truth was, no such money existed. He was honored for a lie. “My little story show that in China there are no prizes for the truth,” he told the audience.
The Chinese author, columnist and blogger is known for his own fight against censorship in China as well as his efforts to get others, particularly young people in China, to stand up for their rights
Li Chengpeng and the five other winners of The Bobs contest received their awards as part of the Deutsche Welle’s Global Media Forum on Tuesday.
“You raise voices and use your creativity, your ideas and your time to make sure your are heard,” said Ute Schaeffer, DW’s editor in chief for regionalized content. “You give other people the courage to stand up for their own rights.”
Best Social Activism: 475
The winners in the Best Social Activism category was the initiative 475. The group behind the project made a film to document the fate of the 16-year-old girl Amina, who took her own life in 2012 after being forced to marry her rapist.
“This award is for all the activists who fight for the rights of women and men to decide what happens to their own bodies,” said Houda Lamqaddam, a member of the group behind the film 475.
Best Innovation: FreeWeibo
A site that allows people unfiltered access to the popular Chinese micro-blogging site Sina Weibo won in the Best Innovation category.
“By making censorship visible, we are showing people what is happening in their country. That’s the way they can put pressure on the government and then make a change,” said Carl Lee, of Great Fire, the organization behind FreeWeibo.
Reporters Without Border Award: Fabbi Kouassi
The Reporters Without Borders award went to Fabbi Kouassi, a journalist in Togo. Kouassi provides a look a country that seldom makes international headlines but has been ruled by an authoritarian regime and where journalists are often victims of police violence.
“Fabbi lives a very risky life as a journalist in Togo,” said her brother, who accepted the award on behalf of Fabbi Kouassi, who gave birth to a daughter less than a week ago. “We worry about her every day, but we are also proud of her.”
Global Media Forum Award: Infoladies
Mahfuza Akter received The Bobs award for the Infoladies project from Bangladesh. She is among the 65 women who ride bikes from village to village helping get information to rural populations. Equipped with a solar-powered laptop and a smart phone, Akter said they were happy to be able to contribute their skills to helping people in their daily lives.
Most Creative and Original: Me and My Shadow
The Bobs international jury was impressed with the Me and My Shadow project in the Most Creative and Original category. The site shows people the digital trails they leave behind when using online services and offers suggestions on how people can protect their privacy and personal information while on the Internet.
Stephanie Hankey of Tactical Tech, the group that runs Me and My Shadow as well as a number of other online privacy and security projects had this tip for the audience, “Be very careful with what you do on the Internet or stay off it if you’re doing something sensitive.”
Congratulations go out again to all of the winners of the 2013 The Bobs awards for the best in online activism – keep up your great work and see you all next year!
See more photos from the award ceremony