Local online projects show global potential | Science| In-depth reporting on science and technology | DW | 03.04.2013
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Local online projects show global potential

The nominees for the ninth annual The Bobs, DW’s award for online activism, are set. Internet users have five weeks to vote for the blogs, activists and media projects that impress them most.

Which websites and projects represent distinguished examples of online activism? Internet users and a 15-member international jury panel have until May 7 to decide. Jury members whittled down more than 4,200 candidates submitted to The Bobs awards in 14 languages to 364 final nominees.

The result is a collection of websites and projects that serve as examples for the variety of online social engagement available on the Internet.

Citizen watchdogs

Although the finalists come from 14 different languages, it's easy to see issues that can break the language barrier. From Germany to China and Iran to Mexico, corruption, lack of democracy, women's rights, and relationships between politics and economy are topics convincing people to take advantage of the communication opportunities offered by the Internet to air their grievances, push for transparency and fight for social reforms.

One of the finalists ranks politicians' performance in office compared to the promises made while they were campaigning. Another platform lets users register where and how much they paid in bribes to receive public services. A third campaign aims to protect women from being forced into marrying the men who raped them.

Focus on people

The Bobs' finalists are punctuated with bloggers and activists from around the world who demonstrate dedication to their causes - often at great risk to themselves. Some nominees are individuals and groups taking a stand for more democracy, human rights and freedom of expression while others work simply to improve other people's lives.

Their work is as multi-faceted as today's problems - one program translates speech into sign language while another site organizes volunteers to search for missing children. The Bobs' finalists, however, share some attributes. They put the focus on people and show that a handful of engaged individuals can make a major contribution to changing the status quo.

Who will win?

The Bobs website, www.thebobs.com, lists and describes all of this year's finalists. Internet users around the world will have until May 7 to choose their favorites for the Users' Choice Award in each of the 34 categories.

The contests' other prize, the Jury Award, will be decided by The Bobs jury members during a meeting on May 4-5 in Berlin. All The Bobs winners will be announced on May 7 and winners of the Jury Awards will be invited to Bonn to receive their prizes at a ceremony on June 18 as part of the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum.

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