Internet users submitted more than 3,000 websites and online projects from around the world to The Bobs, Deutsche Welle's annual competition for the best in online activism.
An international jury selected the finalists for the People's Choice Awards in the contest's 14 languages. All the nominees are presented with short descriptions at www.thebobs.com and the public has from now until May 7 to cast votes for their favorites. The blogs, websites, microblogs, videos and podcasts contribute to promoting public debate by commenting on and analyzing current events.
"People in Russia were hibernating for a long time," said Alena Popova, the Russian-language jury member for The Bobs. "Everyone was convinced that they'd have to manage on their own. But online activism has shown that Russian society is ripe for change. We help each other and can make a difference. Not even state propaganda can shake this belief. Since the Duma election in December 2011, online projects have made a real difference."
In Russia, Popova advocates for civic participation, open government, transparency and the public's control of politics. The journalist started a foundation in 2012 to support online initiatives that make a difference in society.
"All around the world, people are taking action online to promote freedom of expression and increased transparency across society," said DW Director of Programming Gerda Meuer. "But the Internet is watched and controlled – and that is exactly what many of the entries in the contest address."
As an example, she named "The Intercept," and investigative website co-founded by journalist Glenn Greenwald, the censorship circumvention tool "Lantern," and the "EuroMaidan" Facebook page from Ukraine.
Deutsche Welle created The Bobs - Best of Online Activism in 2004. Over the past 10 years, The Bobs have honored online projects from around the world that stand for connectedness, transparency and which help Internet users move through the language barrier for a view of the global digital world. The contest is conducted in 14 languages: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, English, French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Ukrainian.
Past winners include Chinese blogger and author Li Chengpeng, online activists Yoani Sánchez from Cuba and Lina Ben Mhenni from Tunisia, the Iranian blogger Arash Sigarchi and the creator of the Egyptian "We are all Khaled Said" Facebook page.
Premium partners are Reporters Without Borders and the Berlin re:publica conference. Media partners are Lenta.ru, Lanacion.com, Somewhere in..., Bdnews.com, Global Voices, Gooya, Terra, ntvmsnbc, MYNET, MEDYATAVA, China Digital Times and webdunia.