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Syria: First Bloggers’ Contest Winners Announced

The first Syrian bloggers’ contest has come to an end. The contest was organized by the Syrian blog aggregator Al Mudawen [ar/en], where voters were asked to rate blogs competing in four categories: Ideal Blog, Best Content, Best Design, and Best Interactivity. The winning blogs first had to go through a rigorous process of public voting, then a panel evaluation.

Following are the winning blogs:

Many bloggers commended the initiative and hoped it becomes an annual event. However, a few of them expressed some criticism and frustrations, and offered suggestions to further develop the contest. 3abdulsalam, the winner of the Ideal Blog category said [ar]:

ضعف مشاركة المدونات مع ضعف الإقبال على التصويت جعل النسخة الأولى من المسابقة نسخة تجريبية لا يعتد بنتائجها كثيرا.
[…]
سادسا: كنت أتمنى من أعضاء لجنة التحكيم تقديم رأيهم وملاحظاتهم بشكل إفرادي حول المدونات المشتركة وتبيان نقاط ضعفها وقوتها وتوصياتهم لتعم الفائدة خصوصا مع وجود شخصين أكاديميين في اللجنة.
Third: The lack of participating blogs and voters turned the first iteration of the contest into an experimental run with little credibility to the results.
[…]
Sixth: I wish that the panel of judges had given their opinions and remarks on individual participating blogs pointing out their strengths and weaknesses and offered beneficial suggestions to the bloggers, especially that the panel included two academics.

Omar Mushaweh, an administrator and a judge of the competition who also blogs at Al Marfaa [ar], commented about the difficulty of finding sponsors for the competition, the absence of participation on the side of English language blogs, and the complaints about the complication of the voting method used. He also criticized the absence of media coverage from outlets that usually cover similar social media initiatives hinting at Global Voices and Al Jazeera Talk[ar]:

كنت أتوقع أن تشهد المسابقة تغطية إعلامية من بعض الجهات التي (تدعي) أنها تنبض شبابا ! أو الجهات التي لها (صوت عالمي) لكن ليس لنا للأسف الشديد !
عندما تتم كتابة تقرير إعلامي عن المسابقة فهو ليس لمدح فلان أو علان أو مدح مدونة أو غير ذلك .. وإنما هو دعم لنشاط شبابي حر وفعال وجهود يقودها أفراد من لا شيء ! توقعت أن تقوم مثل هذه الجهات بكتابة بعض الأخبار عن هذه المسابقة ولو خبر عام .. لكن للأسف فلا أصحاب النبض الشبابي كانوا أحياءا ! ولا الأصوات العالمية كان صوتها عالي ! اللهم إلا عندما يحدث خلاف أو مشكلة بين المدونين ! وشكرا لهم على متابعة الخلافات والمشاكل !
I expected that the contest would have coverage from some parties that claim that youth throbs in their veins! Or parties that have a global voice but alas!
When a media report is written about the contest it is not to praise a person or a blog and whatnot.. It's about providing support to a youth activity that's free and effective. It's about supporting efforts that are driven by individuals from the bottom up! I expected that such outlets would write about this competition, a generic news to say the least.. But unfortunately, those who brandish youthfulness had no pulse, nor the Global Voices had an audible voice! Except of course for when there's an argument or a quarrel amongst bloggers! And thanks is due to them for keeping up with arguments and quarrels!

He concluded with a call for cooperation saying:

لذلك نقول للجميع .. يدنا ممدودة لهم من أجل مجتمع افتراضي إعلامي مميز .. من أجل حرية إعلامية .. من أجل إعلام جديد ينقل مجتمعاتنا من حفرة الجهل والتخلف والقيود إلى فضاء الحرية !
That's why we say to everyone.. We offer our hand to build an extraordinary virtual media society.. for media freedom.. for new media that lifts our societies from the pit of ignorance and backwardness to the space of freedom!

*related posts: Syria: Snag Hits Blogging Contest

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