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Now more than ever


The 10th edition of The Bobs will start on February 5. At the stroke of noon (German time), 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!

Congratulations to the winners!

Jury WinnersLi 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.

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And the winners are …

The Bobs Jury Congratulations

Congratulations from The Bobs jury

The moment you’ve been waiting for has finally arrived – here are the winners of The Bobs 2013.

The 15-member jury of bloggers and online activists engaged in two days of passionate discussions to name the winners of The Bobs’ six Jury Awards in the multilingual categories.

But jury members are not the only ones with accolades to hand out. Our thanks go out to all of you engaged Internet users who voted in our online poll. You cast over 94,000 ballots to decide the winners of the Users’ Choice awards in all 34 categories.

Best Blog

This year’s top honors in the Best Blog category went to Chinese columnist, author, blogger and microblogger Li Chengpeng for his blog 李承鹏博客.  Extremely popular among young people, as seen by the more than 7 million people who follow him in Sina Weibo, Li Chengpeng has become a symbol of China’s anti-censorship movement. While on a book tour, authorities feared his massive fan base would turn book signings into political protests and forbid Li Chengpeng from speaking to fans. Instead he unveiled a t-shirt that read “I love you all” as a way of expressing his thanks and wore a surgical mask – both of which became symbols of protest for millions of people in China.

“He is an example for the younger generation and encourages them to get involved and stand up against censorship,” Chinese jury member and blogger Hu Yong said.

Best Social Activism

The Moroccan initiative 475 won jury honors in the Best Social Activism category. The project is named after a part of Moroccan law that allows rapists to avoid punishment by marrying their victims. The campaign started after 16-year-old Amina committed suicide after being forcibly married to the man who raped her. “The award went to the Moroccan initiative but beyond that I think the problem of violence against women and rape is everywhere – in India, we’ve heard about it, in Bangladesh in Southeast Asia, in South America,” French jury member Claire Ulrich said. “Here we see that in the attempt to deal justice it’s the women – usually teenage girls who end up paying the price for someone else’s crimes.”

Best Innovation, the winner in the Best Innovation category, exposes what the Chinese government censors on Sina Weibo. FreeWeibo gives users unfettered access to the country’s popular social network while saving and showing the posts deleted by government censors. “Systematic censorship is one of the biggest problems in modern China,” Hu said. “Only by making it visible can people also do something against it.”

Reporters Without Borders Award

The Bobs’ partnership with the rights group Reporters Without Borders continued with a special award for blogs and online projects that take promote freedom of expression.  This year’s award went to Fabbi Kouassi, a blogger and activist in Togo. She uses her blog to report on police violence against journalists in the country, which tends to get very little coverage in international media. “Fabbi defends freedom of expression in an impressive way and draws attention to the precarious situation journalists face in Togo,” said Christian Mihr, the head of Reporters Without Borders in Germany.

Global Media Forum Award

The challenges of the global economy will be the focus of this year’s Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum from June 17-19 in Bonn. This year The Bobs’ special category for the conference looked at the ways bloggers address the economy. The Bangladeshi project Infolady won the jury members’ award. The project equips women with a bike and a mobile phone capable of connecting to the Internet, they ride to rural areas to answer peoples’ questions regarding health, agriculture and development. As few doctors ever travel to the regions infoladies regularly visit, the women are often the only form of medical advice available and when they get stuck on a case they can call a team of experts ready to assist them wherever they may be. “It’s a revolutionary project that helps get life-saving information to the poorest people in Bangladesh,” Bengali jury member Shahidul Alam said.

Most Creative & Original

What little bits of information do you leave behind when you go online? That’s the question the project Me and My Shadow looks to answer. The site takes an entertaining approach to informing people on the traces they’re leaving behind when they shop, surf and post on the Internet. It also offers tips on how to change privacy settings to let out less information. “Me and My Shadow presents in very playful and visually compelling way a means of allowing online users to see the digital traces that they leave through their online activities – and offers easy solutions to fixing them,” said English jury member Georgia Popplewell.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

The six winners of The Bobs’ 2013 Jury Awards will be invited to an award ceremony on June 18, 2013, in Bonn, Germany, as part of the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum in Bonn.


Thanks for reading the whole post. Now go check out all the winners!

Voting starts at The Bobs

theBOBS_vote_nowWhat do paying bribes, the herd instinct, sending postcards, knitting and a sign-language assistant named Hugo have to do with each other?

They are all among the 364 nominees for top awards this year in The Bobs.

The Bobs’ expert jury members needed three weeks, but they managed to whittle down the more than 4,200 submissions to the contest to handful of nominees in each of the competition’s 34 categories and 14 languages.

Your turn has come

Now that the candidates have been decided, it’s up to you to give them a look over and vote for the ones you think are best. Remember, you can vote once per category per 24 hours. The blogs that get the most votes will win The Bobs Users’ Choice prize and knowing that people across the Internet love them. Polls open today and will close on May 7 when all the winners are announced at re:publica in Berlin.

Our jury gets to take a little break but shouldn’t get too comfortable. They will be traveling to Berlin at the beginning of May when we’ll be putting them in a comfy conference room (with plenty of coffee) to discuss and decide on the winners of the Jury Awards in the six main multilingual categories.

Winners of the Jury Awards will be invited to pick up their prizes at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum in Bonn, Germany, on June 17-19.

Now go have a look at this year’s nominees, cast a vote and let your voice be heard!