Two billion people worldwide now have Internet access but a third of them lack access to an Internet that is free and open to all because of government censorship, filtering and online surveillance. Around 180 citizen-journalists, bloggers and other netizens are currently in prison because of their online activity. To support their efforts and to mark World Day Against Cyber-Censorship, Reporters Without Borders and Google award the Netizen Prize every 12 March with the aim of drawing the public’s attention to the need to defend online free expression.
Since 2008, this prize has been awarded to journalists, bloggers and other netizens who have made a distinguished contribution to the defence of freedom of expression on the Internet.
To stimulate online interest, the winner of the Netizen Prize will this year for the first time be elected by the Internet public, who are invited to cast their vote online.
Nine netizens have been nominated by Reporters Without Borders. We have chosen online news and information providers who have distinguished themselves through investigative reporting, projects or other initiatives which have helped advance online freedom of information and which are likely to inspire fellow netizens around the world.
From today until 5 March, Internet users can vote for the nominee they think best represents the fight for online freedom of information by going to the Reporters Without Borders YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/netizen2013).
The nominee who has received the most votes will be announced on 7 March. The winner will be invited to the award ceremony at Google France’s headquarters in Paris on 12 March.
The nominees for the 2013 Netizen Prize are: Itsmania Pineda Platero (Honduras), Cheikh Fall (Senegal), Oumarou Mohamed Lamine (Mali), Suren Gazaryan (Russia), Murat Tungishbayev (Kazakhstan), Assen Yordanov (Bulgaria), Huynh Ngoc Chenh (Vietnam), Mosireen (Egypt) and Shiva Nazar Ahari (Iran).