Middle East blog competition winners announced

Two major blogging competitions, the international competition “The Bobs” and the Arabic award “Arabisk,” announced their winners on 2 May.

The competitions prove that even as other social media, like Facebook and Twitter, have gained ground, blogs remain influential.

The Bobs, a blogging competition sponsored by Deutsche Welle, the German broadcaster, announced the awards for best blogs. Iranian blogger Arash Sigarchi received the best blog from jury, as well as a popular vote, for his blog Window of Anguish.

The Lebanese Khodor Salama received the best blog from users voting for his blog Jou3an (Hungry).

The other competition, Arabisk, which focuses on Arabic blogs, announced its awards for the best personal blog and the best specialized blog.

“Despite his own suffering, [he] keeps an objective eye on Tehran,” Deutsche Welle wrote about Sigrachi, who lives now in America. “His blog … provides readers with an even-handed perspective of the Iranian regime's actions.”

In Iran Sigrachi was sentenced to 14 years prison because of his writing, before his sentence was reduced to three years.

Salama, who writes on many topics and especially focuses on the political issues related to many Arab countries, responded to the news of his winning by writing a post about his blog, saying that “hunger” is a reaction to all the well-fed people who talk on the screens.

The Bobs award for the best Arabic-language blog went to Palestinian Khaled Safi and his blog “Kana Honak” (He was there). Safi, whose interests vary from political issues to web design and cinema, thanked all who supported him.

While no Egyptian bloggers were nominated, Egypt was still represented in this year’s Bobs awards. Harassmap, a website that tracks sexual harassment, received the Best Use of Technology for Social Good award. The website helps Egyptian girls and women with fighting harassment by identifying places where it occurs and helping police and citizens watch those places.

The Best Social Activism Campaign, which went last year to the Egyptian page “We Are All Khaled Saeed,” this year went to the “Free the Syrian blogger and activist Razan Ghazzawy” campaign, a page on Facebook fighting for the freedom of Ghazzawi, who arrested first in the end of 2011, and her arrested colleagues from The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression.

The Arabisk competition is supervised by Algerian blogger Moaamar Amer in partnership with “Hsoub” company for Arabic web development. The competition doesn’t focus on human rights like “The Bobs” does, instead focusing on service blogs and personal blogs that have a good design and continuity. The competition has two categories: personal blogs and specialized blogs. A jury chose winners from every category to name the best Arabic blog.

The best personal blog went to Omar Asey for his blog “Omar Talk.” Asey, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, writes about his personal experience in studying practical engineering and German language, and about his life and the problems of Palestine and Jerusalem, and trying to defend his Palestinian identity.

Color Factory” blog received the best specialized blog and the best Arabic blog this year. The blog focuses on web design and development, and his owner is the Egyptian Ahmed Magdy.

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