Deutsche Welle announces winners of the 2008 Best of the Blogs. Yoani Sanchez, winner of the Best Blog: “Effects will be felt by Cubans who start own blogs”Party Time wins Best Weblog English.
Yoani Sànchez, winner of the Best Weblog 2008.
The blog Generación Y is the winner of Best Weblog award at the 2008 Deutsche Welle International Blog Awards, The BOBs. All the winners were announced at a public ceremony on Thursday, November 27, in Berlin.
The Reporters Without Borders Award was given to both the Persian Weblog 4equality and the blog written by Zeng Jinyan, the wife of imprisoned Chinese human rights activist Hu Jia.
Placed under house arrest, Zeng Jinyan describes her life under constant surveillance by the Chinese authorities. The Persian weblog 4equality is working to gather 1 million signatures on a petition for women's rights in Iran. The Sunlight Foundation's Party Time blog, which exposes what groups and companies sponsor fundraising events for US politicians, won the Best Weblog for the English language.
Germany's international broadcaster announced all the competition's winners at a public event at the Museum of Communication in Berlin on Thursday, November 27. Winners will have an opportunity to attend the Deutsche Welle's Global Media Forum in June in Bonn, Germany.
Blogger Yoani Sanchez, who has become world renowned for her writing about the daily life of Cubans, was awarded the BOBs' top prize for her "clear and poetic style" as well as the "high degree of value her work contributes to the entire blogosphere," the international jury of bloggers and media experts said.
Sanchez, after being informed of her victory, said: "Receiving the award for the Best Weblog in the prestigious BOBs contest has given me great personal joy." She added that she hoped the award would convince more Cubans to being writing and publishing their own independent weblogs.
"One day real life will be like cyberspace, and on this Island any citizen will be able to express themselves without asking permission," she said in a video statement at the award ceremony. "This award is a new push towards accomplishing this goal."
The Best Videoblog award went to Voices of Africa for its pioneering work since 2007 in training citizen journalists and equipping them with simple recording equipment to report on the events happening around them. The Best Podcast award was claimed by Russian-language Radio Grinch. The jury also named winner in 11 language-specific categories.
Shortly before the BOBs jury met in Berlin, Chinese jury member Shuguang Zhou was denied the right to leave China. Though he was unable to attend the jury meeting in person, he was able to take part via a live Internet connection.
"Bloggers and Internet dissidents work for freedom of the press and expression while other media in these countries remain silent or have to stay silent," said Reporters Without Borders General-Secretary Jean-Francois Julliard. "There is no freedom without freedom of expression and of the press. That's why we support this important initiative of the Deutsche Welle."
Cédric Kalonji, the winner of the 2007 "Best Weblog French" award, gave the keynote address at the awards ceremony. He discussed the role blogs and bloggers could play in helping to open up the restricted media landscape in Africa.
"Blogs are building increasingly important bridges between Africa and other nations," he said. "The exchange of information requires mutual understanding and new means of communication is making information available to Africans who would not have otherwise had access to it."
Users from all over the world have contributed more than 8,500 nominations for the BOBs – a 20 percent increase from last year. The BOBs' renowned jury of bloggers and media experts narrowed the selection to the best 11 candidates in each category. Over a period of four weeks over 120,000 ballots were cast in an online vote.
In the ever-expanding global blogosphere, the BOBs is unique in its inclusion of so many languages. The competition recognizes blogs and podcasts produced in Arabic, Chinese, German, English, French, Dutch, Farsi, Indonesian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Users then had four weeks to vote online for their favorite blogs. The People's Choice Award for Best Weblog went to the Science Guru blog, a group blog that says it tries to act like a "squirrel cracking the nut of science."
Reporters Without Borderes and Radio Netherlands are premium partners for the BOBs. Other media partners include: Al Arabiya, Arabic Media Internet Network, arte, blog.de, Bright, cafébabel.com, Categorynet.com, Clarín, de Volkskrant, Die Zeit, El Tiempo, Folha Online, Fundación Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano, Global Voices Online, Gooya, Handelsblatt.com, Iran-emrooz.net, Knack.be, Lenta.ru, Livejournal.ru, Mister Wong, Netvibes, newthinking, Radio Zamaneh, RTVE Cámara Abierta, Sina.com.cn, Six Apart, startlog.nl, Technorati, TV5Monde, and UOL.
The BOBs 2008 are generously supported this year by Hewlett-Packard, HTC, Freecom, O’Reilly and Sevenload.
November 28, 2008