The 10th edition of The Bobs will start on February 5. At the stroke of noon (German time), www.thebobs.com will open for submissions in 14 languages in this year’s 20 categories. We can hardly wait to see what you’ve got in mind for inspiring projects and dedicated people from around the world this year.
You’ll have four weeks time to make submissions to the contest then we’ll forward them all on to our international jury members. They’ll be the ones with the daunting task of choosing finalists.
We’re happy to welcome Erkan Saka from Turkey, Renata Avila from Guatemala, Alexandre Youssef of Brazil, Florian Ngimbis from Cameroon, Victoria Siumar of Ukraine, and Rohini Lakshané of India to our jury. Jury members – new comers and returnees – present their language’s nominees to other juror at the meeting in Berlin. The Bobs switches up some jury members every year to give the award a breath of fresh air and new ideas. But it’s so hard to say good-bye and to make sure we never lose track of anyone, we’ve collected all The Bobs jury members since way back in 2004 in spot – the History page. These are people we think you’ll also want to check out and keep up with.
You can peruse the History to see 10 years worth of The Bobs jury and user prize winners. Unfortunately, some of the sites are no longer online. Sometimes the people running the sites decided to take them down on their own. Sometimes, however, it’s because the people who ran the sites have been or were locked up by authorities. This is the somber side of The Bobs. Whether it’s past winners, nominees or other activists, far too often we get reports of arrests – and worse – affecting the people we’re glad to know. One reason we started The Bobs in 2004 was because we have felt the recognition that comes with an international award like The Bobs can help protect people by making it clear to the authorities that the world won’t forget what they do.
The Internet has seen some major changes in the decade that The Bobs have been around. It’s developed into a medium and place that has an effect on everyone’s life and cannot be ignored. Events in recent months have also shown how the Internet is used to keep people under close surveillance by governments and intelligence agencies in ways and on a scale the public did not expect.
These revelations represent one of the reasons why this year – possibly more than ever – we feel it’s crucial to show that the Internet is about more than being watched. The Bobs want to demonstrate the ways the online world gives people interesting and inspiring ways to spread and improve freedom of expression and to participate in the democratic process.
We are looking forward to seeing your submissions!