Saturday, April 14, 2012

Re:Publica and The BOBs

 This yeas I was selected to become a jury-member of Deutsche Welle's Best of Blog Awards, the BOBs. The BOBs was launched in 2004 and it honours websites in 11 languages that champion the open exchange of ideas and freedom of expression.

My role in to evaluate the submitted Arabic blogs - and other social media entries - and select the best of them in the different categories of the competition. I am proud of the choices I made in each category and I find them all good representatives of the Arab social media scene and blogsphere this year.
  • Best Video Channel: In this category I chose Mosireen (مصرين). They define themselves as “a non-profit media collective born out of the explosion of citizen journalism and cultural activism in Egypt during the revolution“. What is special about them is the quality of the videos they publish covering the incidents in Egypt, the interviews they make and their impact is clear in the number of views they have, about 3 million viewers. There's also their frequent updates and the fact that mainstream media rely on their videos a lot.
  • Special Topic Award Education and Culture: In this category I chose 7iber (حبر). In their about page the website is described as a platform that “provides original, creative and interesting content, seeking to better inform our audience of untapped Jordanian issues as well as providing local perspectives and first-hand accounts of news, politics, arts and culture”. Although they encourage debates and contents whether they are political or cultural one, it’s clear that the coverage of the cultural matters on the platform are distinctive. They list calendars of upcoming cultural events taking place in Jordan. There are sections there discussing issues such as theatre, environment, photos and videos from Jordan. They also host debates offline under the name Hashtag Debates to discuss political, cultural and social issues. They offer fresh content whether on the website or on their YouTube channel, the site’s design is excellent and easy to surf. 
  • Best Use of Technology for Social Good: In this category I chose Harassmap (خريطة التحرش الجنسي). It’s meant to fight sexual harassment in Egypt. They allow victims to reports harassment incidents and tie them to their location and type on a map. Reports can be done via the website or via SMS. They also sponsored campaign to raise awareness for the issue via hashtag on twitter and tweets are displayed on the website or by asking people to blog for the cause on a special day. They uses Ushahidi platform. 
  • In the Best Blog category comes Jou3an (مواطن جوعان), in the Best Social Activism Campaign category comes FreeRazan Facebook Page (الحرية للمدونة رزان غزاوي), for the Reporters Without Borders Award comes Trella (مدونة تريلا), and for the Best Arabic Blog category comes 11 blogs where you have to choose one of them. 

I find it a good chance for us to get to know blogs from outside our own region, and that's why I invite you to read the brief about the different entries in each category, and it would be better if you can also read their own language and visit them, and then vote for the best entries in each category. Voting is allowed once per category per 24 hours per network, so you can (and it's good to) vote everyday in the blue box on top of this page. Also spread the word about your favourite entries in the competition and invite others to visit them and vote for them if they want to.

I will be in Berlin for The Best of Blogs related meeting and I will also participate in the re:publica. I will be participating in a panel with Leila Nachawati, Claire Ulrich and Zulfikar Abbany.

May 7, 2012 - Update: 

Related Links:
DW: 2 out of 6 winners of The BOBs jury awards are Arabs
DW: Re:publica - Has the Arab Facebook revolution lost steam?
Best of the Blogs 2012: Winners Announced
A Global Voices Guide to re:publica Berlin 2012
Re:publica 2012: libertad y vigilancia, tecnología y futuro
Berliner Zeitung: Blogger leben gefährlich
Blogger: Internet in Ägypten wichtiger als klassische Medien
Re:publica 2012: Die Medienlandschaft nach dem arabischen Frühling [Video]

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