Best of Online Activism - Bobs Awards at #rp14

A blogger from Iran, who uncovers corruption in her country; a Chinese author asking uncomfortable questions about collapsing school buildings; a Moroccan youth initiative highlighting the fate of women, who have suffered sexual violence; a Bengali educator offering online courses to rural populations free of charge. They all use the web, with its entwined paths of communication, to promote freedom of speech and human rights. They are all part of the BOBs – the world’s largest international blog competition!   

BOBs stands for “Best of the Blogs” and has been reflecting the variety and increasing importance of blogs and online projects, for the past 10 years. The competition focuses on journalistic content and on blogs, which are unique in their way of promoting freedom of speech and human rights on the Internet.

The award, now in cooperation with Reporters Without Borders, was established in 2004 by the Deutsche Welle and is awarded in several categories and up to fourteen languages. The BOBs not only help to increase our knowledge on stand-out personalities each year, but also promote a world-wide dialogue on how important freedom of speech and human rights continue to be.

Jury members and award winners of past years tend to come together during re:publica, including the Cuban blogger Joani Sanchez, the Indian journalist and blogger Ravish Kumar, the Iranian blogger Arash Abadpour and the Bengali photographer and journalist Shahidul Alam.

The BOBs are a jury and user award, meaning that the winners of the awards are selected through an international blogger jury and through an online poll. Want to take part? Voting in the online poll is open until 7 May, on which the winners of the BOBs 2014 will be announced.

At this year's re:publica, the BOBs will present the following panel:

Just the facts or all the propaganda? Reporting from and about Ukraine
The battle to control the media narrative coming out of Ukraine and Russia has moved online. Oksana Romaniuk (Ukraine) and Alena Popova (Russia), two jury members at Deutsche Welle's The Bobs awards, discuss whether citizen journalists and other reporters on the ground can get – and share – an untainted view of the complicated situation they see and are a part of. Could it be that we all need a propaganda-filter add-on for our browsers?

Photo: Deutsche Welle