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Hope, hope and community win at The Bobs 2015

01-Gewinner-stehen-fest-Milestoneposting_600x240pxFirst off, here’s what you really want to know. The winners of The Bobs 2015 Jury Awards are:

– Social Change: Mukto Mona

– Privacy & Security: Rancho Electronico

– Arts & Media: Zaytoun, the little refugee

Have a look at the winners of The Bobs 2015.

Many thanks to all of you – the public – for submitting over 4,800 sites to this year’s contest and for the some 30,000 votes you cast in an online ballot to decide on the winners of the People’s Choice Awards.

Thanks also go to our jury for narrowing the submissions down to a manageable list of just 14 projects in each category and then facing the daunting task of spending a day in Berlin to evaluate projects in over a dozen languages and decide on the Jury Award winners.

Social Change: Mukto Mona

In the Social Change category the jury honored the work of Rafida Bonya Ahmed, who was brutally assaulted in a February 2015 attack that claimed the life of her husband, Avijit Roy. Despite the serious injuries she suffered, Ahmed has refused to be silenced by the religious fundamentalists behind her husband’s murder. The blog reports with a journalistic and critical approach to secular and scientific issues.

Ahmed and other secular bloggers in Bangladesh often end up putting their own lives at risk while defending the country’s secular principles. Religious fundamentalists published a list of 84 people they have said should be killed – eight people on the list have been murdered.

“In a repressive environment where freedom of expression can lead to death, the defiance of these bloggers must be lauded,” Shahidul Alam, The Bobs’ Bengali-language jury.

“This is not necessarily a project about despair but about hope,” Alam added. “Despite situation and oppression, there are people who are prepared to take on repressive govern and make change. The onus now is on the rest of us, to ensure that these brave individuals are given the support and protection that they need.”

Arts & Media: Zaytoun, the little refugee

Despite the devastation and suffering caused by the Syrian civil war – especially for Syrian-Palestinian refugees in the country – the winner of the Arts & Media category, Zaytoun, the little refugee, also bears a message of hope, according to The Bobs’ Arabic-language jury member Leila Nachawati.

“We hear about Syria, but we don’t hear from Syrian-Palestinian voices,” she said. “Zaytoun gives the rest of the world a chance to hear real voices from the ground. It gives hope that life and creativity can be born.”

Created by a team of independent media makers, Zaytoun provides an up-close view of life in Syria that is often overshadowed by reporting on the war and statements from international organizations.

Privacy & Security: Rancho Electronico

Finally, the Mexican volunteer community Rancho Electronico won the Jury Award in the Privacy & Security category for its dedication to creating a real-world group of people committed to helping others understand digital technology and how to protect their privacy.

“We often fall in love with tools and apps, we get fascinated by websites – and then they vanish,” said Renata Avila of The Bobs jury. “This is not just a website or app, but a real community, on line and off, that deals with protecting privacy and security.”

The award is a form of recognition for a volunteer-based community doing work to bring together people from all social backgrounds on an issue that affects everyone, Avila added.

People’s Choice Awards

Projects in each of The Bobs’ 14 languages also won recognition from the public in the People’s Choice Awards. Have a look through the winners in each language.

DW Freedom of Speech Award

As part of The Bobs 2015, Deutsche Welle in February gave out its first Freedom of Speech Award to Saudi blogger Raif Badawi. His website, Free Saudi Liberals, addressed a number of controversial political and social issues facing Saudi Arabia. An exemplary proponent of free speech, Badawi was sentenced in May 2014 to 1,000 lashes, 10 years in prison and a large fine for insulting Islam.

What’s next? Hearing from the winners!

The three Jury Award winners as well as the winner of the Deutsche Welle Freedom of Speech Award will be invited to an award ceremony on June 23 as part of the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum in Bonn, Germany.

Polls open until May 3

We want to count your votes for the best in online activism at The Bobs! You have until May 3 at 9 a.m. German time (0700 GMT) to cast your ballots. Read about the nominees and cast your votes for the People’s Choice Awards in 14 languages.

Cheaters don’t have a chance

Over the course of this year’s voting, which began on April 9, we have noticed some irregularity and have removed a number of invalid votes. This has led to changes in the rankings in some categories. We would like to point out that we check each vote’s validity as soon as it is cast and update the online vote tallies every few minutes. You can read a more detailed rundown of voting rules on the Rules page.

Jury decides winner of three categories

The winners of the Social Change, Privacy & Security, and Arts & Media categories will be decided by The Bobs’ international jury members. The winners of these three categories will be invited to receive their award as part of the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum (22-24 June) in Bonn, Germany.

Again, our congratulations to all of the nominees.

Let’s get the voting started

Buzzer-Bobs-2015_Milestoneposting_600x240pxThe choice is yours! There are 70 finalists in 14 languages vying for your votes in The Bobs 2015. You have until May 3 to vote for your favorites in our 14 language-specific categories. The nominees with the most votes will win this year’s People’s Choice Awards.

There were over 4,800 submissions made to The Bobs 2015. Our international jury members had their work cut out for them narrowing the list down to a handful of finalists. Thank you very much for all your hard work!

Rules for voting are simple: you can vote once per category per 24 hours. The nominee with the most votes will the People’s Choice Award. There’s more information about voting on the Rules page.

The winners of the three multilingual categories will be decided by The Bobs jury at the beginning of May. The winners in these three categories will be invited to Bonn to take part in the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum and pick up their awards during a special ceremony.

Good luck to all the nominees.

Thank you for your submissions


Thank you for the 4,800 suggestions you made to The Bobs 2015!

What happens next, you ask? It’ simple really: first comes patience, then comes inspiration.

Starting with the patience: Over the next few weeks our international jury will wade through everything you’ve sent in – all the websites, blogs, projects, media campaigns and initiatives – then compile a list of nominees in all the contest’s categories.

That’s going to take some time. And that’s why we decided to put a pretty cat picture at the top of the page. So that at least there’ll be something cute to look at if the list of finalists isn’t ready. Also, did you know there’s a Cat Theory of Digital Activism?

Get inspired

Once the list of finalists is ready on April 9, we’ll move on to the inspiration. Come back here then to see the list of finalists and check out some of the amazing work being doing around the world. With the help of an English description, a lot of the time you won’t even need to understand the language to get a feeling for a project’s goal or a campaign’s approach to changing the world.

Head to the ballot box

Be sure to give all the finalists a close look, because we’re counting on you to vote for your favorites and give out honors in the People’s Choice categories. You’ll have until May 3 to vote on everything from “People’s Choice for Arabic” to “People’s Choice for Ukrainian” (and the 12 other contest languages in between).

While you’re busy with that, our jury will get together on May 2 in Berlin to decide on the winners of the 2015 Jury Awards in the three multilingual categories. There will be some heady debate but, in the end, when the jury’s votes are counted it’ll be majority rules.

So don’t go anywhere – The Bobs 2015 are just warming up!

April 9 seem like a long way off ? Afraid you’ll forget to check back to see the finalists? We understand – follow us on Twitter and Facebook and we’ll be sure to let you know when the time to vote has come.