Reporters Without Borders is calling on Internet-users to vote online for award-winners from among 60 blogs defending freedom of expression. There are six categories: Africa and the Middle East, the Americas, Asia, Europe, Iran and International.
Blogs have become significant sources of news for millions of Internet-users. In repressive countries they represent an alternative news source to state-controlled media. In regimes that show greater respect for freedom of expression, they can relay comments, articles and opinions that are not necessarily broadcast by the major media.
These awards will be in tribute to webloggers who defend free expression and sometimes pay heavily for it. Two of them are, for example, still in prison in Iran.
Reporters Without Borders has made a first selection of blogs, according to their interest and some basic criteria. There are blogs in English, French, Russian, Arabic, Farsi, Spanish and German.
Now it is up to Internet-users to decide. They may only vote for one blog per geographical category (The International category is of blogs that have a general interest in freedom of expression on the Internet).
Voting closes on 1st June 2005 and the prize-winners will be announced two weeks later.