After a month of voting and jury discussions, the awards for this year's Best of the Blogs – the BOBs – have been decided. This annual event held by the Deutsche Welle Media Group aims to award bloggers who contribute to their communities and promote freedom of expression.
Iranian journalist Arash Sigarchi (jury winner and user winner) and the Lebanese author of Mowaten Jou3an (user winner) are this year's “Best Blog” winners. Sigarchi, currently based in Washington, is the author of Window of Anguish [fa], where he writes about social and political issues in his homeland. While in Iran, he was arrested several times for the content he published on his blog and was eventually sentenced to 14 years in prison. The unnamed author of Mowaten Jou3an [ar] covers diverse subjects related to several countries including Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon.
This year’s other Jury Awards went to:
Best Social Activism Campaign: Free Syrian Blogger & Activist Razan Ghazzawi
This campaign was launched after Syrian activist and former Global Voices contributor Razan Ghazzawi was arrested in December as she was on her way to attend a workshop on press freedom in Jordan. After her release she was taken into custody, released and taken into custody again some months later. This Facebook page calls for her release and that of her colleagues from the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, who have been detained since February 2012.
Special Topic Award Education and Culture: Fasokan
Boukary Konaté is the author of Fasokan, where he promotes his local language and culture in both French and Bambara (the most widespread language of Mali). Konaté is a translator for Global Voices in French and also a Rising Voices grantee representing the Ségou Villages Connection.
Best Use of Technology for Social Good: Harassmap
This Egyptian project, using an Ushahidi map, allows victims of sexual harassment to report and map what happened by type and location. Reports can be made via the website, text message and via Twitter hashtag.
Best Video Channel: Kuang Kuang Kuang
This Chinese cartoon series, whose main character goes by the name Kuang Kuang, is one of animation director Pi San’s satirical works that has provocatively evoked China’s social ills.
Reporters Without Borders Award: Abu Sufian’s Blog
Reporter from Bangladesh Abu Sufian uses his blog to report on crimes that much of the mainstream media ignores, such as the recent killing of the journalists Sagar and Runi. He has been vocal against extrajudicial killings in Bangladesh, which take thousands of lives.
User Awards in all categories and languages
In addition to the Jury's Awards, the users have also chosen their favorite blogs in all the categories and languages of this year's competition. You can see the list here.
Congratulations from the Global Voices community to all the Award winners for their inspiring work. We wish to send special greetings to Boukary Konaté for his outstanding work. When we talked to Boukary about what this award meant for him, he answered:
I got the news in a moment when my country is going through a military and political crisis. I consider this Education and Culture Award as an award for unity and peace for Mali.
According to jury member and Global Voices author, Tarek Amr from Egypt who helped review Arabic language nominees:
The FreeRazan campaign is important on its own, but I also see it as symbol for acknowledging the struggle of the Syrian people and showing solidarity with political detainees in the Arab world, whether Abdulhadi Alkhawaja in Bahrain, military trials victims in Egypt, and many other examples. Harassmap is also a great platform to help raise awareness about sexual harassment in Egypt, and help victims to speak up, especially when society often tends to blame the victim before blaming the harasser.”