Deutsche Welle Launches Online Activism Annual Competition, Calls for Submissions


Deutsche Welle has launched the 12th annual competition for online activism by calling for submissions to “The Bobs – Best of Online Activism.” Deutsche Welle is looking for engaging, innovative and interactive in its annual contest.

Submissions are open to anyone using the internet and don’t cost a single penny, but everything submitted to The Bobs has to be in one of the contest’s 14 languages: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, English, French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Ukrainian.

“Freedom of expression on the Internet finds itself in a catch-22,” wrote Claire Ulrich, a former jury member at The Bobs. On the one hand, the commitment of young people on the internet is more important than ever, especially after the attacks in Paris. In addition, the online activism is increasingly subject to monitoring in other parts of the world with the dangers that this entails and retaliation.

According to the group, “Deutsche Welle’s award is one way to honor the work of people risking their lives to promote online freedom of expression and civil society through innovative projects and personal dedication.”

The scope of languages represented at The Bobs makes the contest a unique award. An international jury, with one juror representing each of the contest’s 14 languages. This year, Georgia Popplewell, managing director of Global Voices, returns to The Bobs’ jury.

It will be up to jury members to evaluate projects submitted to The Bobs, last year there were more than 4,800, and creates a shortlist of nominees to advance to the competition’s final round. The list of finalists will be announced on March 31.

Interested Internet users have until March 3 to submit websites and online initiatives to the contest at in 14 languages and 18 categories, including “Social Change,” “Tech for Good,” “Arts and Culture” and Citizen Journalism.”

Then online voting boxes will open, and Internet users will have until May 2 to cast their ballots for the people and projects that impress them the most. In the past, some 120,000 people participated in the vote.

The organizer said “on May 2, just before World Press Freedom Day, the jury will announce the winners of The Bobs 2016. Deutsche Welle’s board of directors will also present its special Freedom of Speech Award for the second time.”

Raif Badawi, imprisoned Saudi blogger won last year the award.

An award ceremony for the top winners will take place as part of DW’s Global Media Forum on June 14 in Bonn, Germany.