The BOBs Want Your Vote | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 24.10.2005
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The BOBs Want Your Vote

As the nominees for the second annual Deutsche Welle International Weblog Awards prepare for international scrutiny, Iranian jury member Hossein Derakhshan described the special attention he's received in the past.


Vote for your favorite Weblogs at the BOBs

Hossein Derakhshan said he knows there are bloggers and other journalists serving out sentences for "inappropriate use of the Internet" in Iran, but on a trip to the country during the February elections there, he realized the problem is much more serious than he expected.

After being denied permission to leave Iran, Derakhshan, a 30-year-old Iranian blogger who lives in Canada, was summoned to Tehran's Information Ministry for "something between an interview and an interrogation."

"They wanted me to promise to explain and even apologize for some of my blog entries," he said. "I had to do that before I was allowed to leave the country, and they said if I did it they would possibly stop filtering my blog, and if I didn't get too loud about it, they would maybe help me with future visits it Iran."

If any of Derakhshan's readers were confused about the blogger's change of heart, it didn't take him long to set them straight.

"I wrote the explanation they wanted, and as soon as I left I described the entire situation in my blog," he said. "Then I got an e-mail from the Information Ministry that I wasn't welcome back in the country."

Language makes a difference

While most bloggers taking part in the Deutsche Welle's Best of the Blogs -- the BOBs -- won't have to leave the country to write what they please, there are considerable differences among the different languages blogospheres, according to Holger Hank, editorial director of DW-WORLD.DE, Deutsche Welle's Internet presence.

"Even though blogs from around the world appear similar, the nominees show that the blog scenes have developed differently," said Hank. "While playful and diary-like blogs still play an important role in Germany, there are other examples coming from the English-speaking world that are self-confident and by all means a journalistic complement or even an alternative to the mainstream media."

Julien Pain, head of the Reporters Without Borders Internet Desk and a BOBs jury member, emphasized how difficult he found choosing from the suggestions.

"I was very curious to see the other jury members' suggestions for the special award from Reporters Without Borders," he said. "Thanks to them I was able to discover some very interesting blogs."

Chance to win iPod Shuffle

Starting Monday, more than 100 blogs in nine languages will square off for honors as the world's best blog in 13 categories. The voting will bring the Deutsche Welle's 2005 Best of the Blogs -- a.k.a. The BOBs -- into the ultimate round. Bloggers and blog aficionados from the world over made more than 2,500 suggestions, nearly double last year's submissions.

There's still plenty for Internet users to do. Blog and podcast fans have until Nov. 20 to vote online for their favorite nominees. It's up to them to dole out the audience's User Prize to the sites they think are best. Voters who choose to register will also be entered in a drawing for an Apple iPod Shuffle.

Pain will meet with Derakhshan the other 10 jury members in Bonn at the beginning of November to choose the Jury Prize winners from the list of nominees.

The winners of both the Jury Awards and User Prizes will be announced on Nov. 21.

Reporters Without Borders are joined by (Canada), (Germany), (France), Clarí (Argentina), Folha Online (Brazil), Shargh Newspaper (Iran), (Russia) (Iran), (China) und Phoenix TV (China) in supporting Deutsche Welle's 2005 Weblog Awards.

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