An international jury of renowned online experts will begin today to evaluate this year's submissions for The Bobs, DW’s online activism contest. The jury members from 14 countries are excited to choose the finalists.
For the 12th time, DW honors people working to promote freedom of expression and civil society. DW is also awarding the Freedom of Speech Award.
For the last four weeks, people from around the world have recommended websites and online initiatives in four categories and 14 languages at thebobs.com. An independent jury will evaluate more than 2,300 submitted projects and create a shortlist of nominees to be announced March 31.
This year, seven out of the 14 jury members are taking part for the first time. New jury member Julie Owono from Cameroon says: “The Bobs – one of the most professional online contests – are giving a status to online activism. It’s a serious business, not a pastime. This year, I would love to see content about women issues and how women use platforms to push the equality agenda.”
Another new juror is Rafida Bonya Ahmed from Bangladesh, whose husband, blogger Avijit Roy, was brutally murdered last year. “The awards encourage people to continue their activism. Winning a Bob can raise awareness about their work and provide them with confidence. It shows them there is a world out there in which their work is valued,” says Ahmed.
The jury will announce this year's winners in Berlin on May 2, just ahead of World Press Freedom Day. The main prize winners will be honored at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum in Bonn, Germany, on June 14. That same day, DW will give out its Freedom of Speech Award for the second time. Imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi received the prize in 2015.
The Bobs categories are:
Social Change: projects that use a range of digital advances to have a positive influence on the world
Tech for Good: technical innovations and websites dealing with topics such as data protection and online security
Arts and Culture: artistic and cultural projects using digital communications to highlight social issues
Citizen Journalism: projects and websites taking advantage of all forms of online participation
The list of nominees will be published on thebobs.com on March 31 and the online public will be able to vote for their favorite finalists until May 2.