The Bobs: Deutsche Welle honors Egyptian blogger

Bonn, (PresseBox) - Photo blogger Mosa'ab Elshamy from Egypt received the "Best Blog" prize at The Bobs - Best of Online Activism 2014. Deutsche Welle will present the award on June 30 as part of the Global Media Forum in Bonn, Germany.

The jury of the Deutsche Welle's award also handed out honors in five additional categories. Top prizes went to bloggers and social media activists from Ukraine, the Palestinian territories, India, Bangladesh as well as a language artist who creatively circumvents Chinese censorship.

The overall Best Blog winner of The Bobs' 10th edition, Mosa'ab Elshamy (23), uses Facebook (facebook.com/mosaabelshamy) and other online services to analyze current events in Egypt in an impressive manner. His photos and photo essays, which cover the Egyptian revolution and the 2012 war in Gaza as well as cultural events in his home country, have earned him international recognition.

"Mosa'ab Elshamy illustrates in a very impressive way the rifts that exist in Egyptian society," the jury said of his work. "Although we do not all speak Arabic, we can all understand the power of his images."

The Bobs other winners

The jury's choice for Best Social Activism went to Visualizing Palestine. Run by a team in Ramallah and Beirut, the site's operators have been creating infographics since 2011. The team's work is often used in mainstream media and can be privately shared using a Creative Commons license. The themes of the infographics include controversial topics such as Israel's settlement policy as well as the environment, health care and education issues.

"The website breaks down the complex and emotional conflict into understandable pieces and presents visualizations of them," the jury said. Deutsche Welle honors projects in the Best Social Activism category that contribute to strengthening democracy and the promotion of human rights.

In the Best Innovation category, the jury awarded its honors to the BanglaBraille.com project from Bangladesh, where more than a million people are blind. There are no suitable textbooks for more than 50,000 children in the country. The creators of BanglaBraille established a platform that provides access to digital and audio books. They also set up a network of engaged volunteers to digitize the books and collect funding for the project. "The project has fundamentally improved the lives of many students in Bangladesh and is fighting against a problem that authorities in the country have criminally neglected," the jury said.

A language artist won in the Most Creative and Original category. Word games have a long tradition in the Chinese language that is continued by the person behind weicombo, who refers to himself - translated into English - as King@LeftMiddleRight. Posts to the Weibo.com account are sometimes made up of a single Chinese character. Often slightly altered, the one-character posts present readers with a daily riddle of inferring the point he is looking to get across. The Bobs jury said it represents "a very creative and clever way to get around censorship in China."

The Global Media Forum Award went to India's Khabar Lahariya, a weekly, rural newspaper printed in six dialects. Written, printed and delivered by women, the paper focuses on the people and events in northern and northeastern India that otherwise get little attention in the mainstream media. A key source of information for many people, the paper has been running for 12 years and is also available online (www.khabarlahariya.org). "The newspaper is an excellent example of a project that provides access to information in a disadvantaged region," the jury said.

The Reporters Without Borders Award went to the Ukrainian project YanukovychLeaks (www.yanukovychleaks.org). Run by a group of journalists, the site publishes documents found in the estate of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych after he fled the country to Russia following the Maidan revolution. The people behind the project aim to catalog and report on the massive number of files they were able to save. "It is especially important during times of crisis to support independent journalists and to encourage them to keep up their work despite the dangers they face," said Christian Mihr, head of Reporters Without Borders branch in Germany. The organization partners with Deutsche Welle for this category.

The best blogs in 14 languages

In addition to the Jury Awards, Internet users from around the world cast more than 70,000 ballots in an online vote. In addition to the six multilingual categories, users also voted on the best blogs in each of The Bobs' 14 languages. All the People's Choice Award winners are listed at www.thebobs.com.

Award ceremony at the Global Media Forum

Deutsche Welle created The Bobs - Best in Online Activism in 2004 to support the open exchange of ideas and freedom of expression in digital media. Submissions to the contest reflect the wide range of opportunities the blogosphere and other online outlets offer to promote freedom of expression and transparency.

The 15-member international jury nominated 154 finalists for the competition from the more than 3,000 websites and online projects submitted to the contest this year.

The Bobs' partners

Premium partners are Reporters Without Borders and re:publica. Media partners are Lenta.ru, La nacion.com, Somewhere in..., Bdnews.com, Global Voices, Gooya, Terra, ntvmsnbc, MYNET, MEDYATAVA, China Digital Times, hromadske.tv, Mada Masr and webdunia.

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