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DW honors sacrifice in the name of free speech

Out of all the recent sacrifices made in the name of freedom of speech, the tribulations of the Saudi Arabian activist Raif Badawi poignantly exemplify the precarious condition of free speech in some parts of the world today. This year Badawi is the recipient of the first DW Freedom of Speech Award, which is being presented by DW in conjunction with “The Bobs- Best of Online Activism” awards.

Badawi was arrested in 2012 and charged with insulting Islam through electronic channels via his website, Free Saudi Liberals, which provided a public forum for social criticism in Saudi Arabia.  In May 2014 Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes to be carried out 50 at a time for 20 weeks. He was publically flogged 50 times in January. It is feared that he will die if subjected to the full extent of his sentence.

With this award, DW is actively taking part in the international protest against the treatment Badawi is receiving simply for publicizing his opinion. Amnesty International  has started a campaign calling for his immediate release. On social media , supporters have gathered around the hashtag , #iamraif. A group of academics and social activists from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom even offered to each take 100 of the lashes that would have been administered to Badawi rather than “stand by and watch him be cruelly tortured.”

Badawi will be regognized by DW at The Bobs awards ceremony during the 2015 Global Media Forum in Bonn on June 23.

Date

2015-02-26 | 8:12

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Taking a new look at digital activism

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For the past 11 years, The Bobs is where DW has honored the world’s most courageous, creative and compelling international online activists and bloggers.

The 2015 competition is kicking off with new categories that introduce a fresh focus on how digital activism is changing the world. The Bobs jury categories will now put the spotlight on the critical issues of privacy and security, arts and media and social change. Judges will determine how contestants have used their digital skills and activism to create positive impacts within these fields. The new format also allows for more than one contestant to stand out for their exemplary work.

How can a digital crusader improve economic development and living conditions? Who is producing the most innovative or avant-garde formats to speak out online? What is the most cutting-edge software for protecting data and digital privacy? On June 22 at the Global Media Forum in Bonn, we will all get the chance to find out.

The core values of the Bobs remain the same, even if they will now be presented more directly. Last year’s winner of best blog was the Egyptian photo blogger, Mosa’ab Elshamy, who showed courage combined with a brilliant eye for powerful imagery. His blog is an example of where fine art meets journalism. In 2013 the “grand prize” winner was the Chinese blogger Li Chengpeng, whose tireless efforts for freedom of speech made him a digital celebrity in China and a salient example of contemporary activism as well as a trendsetter for those living under oppression. No matter the year or the format, the Bobs have always looked for the bravest and the best.

If you are a blogger or online activist you can submit your website now. You have until March 12 to enter your submissions.

Date

2015-02-20 | 11:15

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Smart content for smart TVs

The future of developing smart TV is caught between what audiences are used to and what the user experience can actually provide. Even the best models are held back by cumbersome Internet browsing with a television remote or poor user interface combined with an overwhelming number of applications that complicate entertainment choices.

But people consume information differently than they would entertainment. And a recent study suggests that news apps for smart TVs are among the most popular. Audiences want direct and clear access to broadcast news that isn’t constrained by the scheduling of linear television or made tiresome by typing into a web browser. Consumers are buying more smart TVs and even if they don’t use the device’s full potential, the apps which succeed are going to get enormous exposure.

DW is establishing its place alongside other top international news broadcasters on smart TVs with the continual development of user-friendly apps. The latest development is a deal making the DW for Smart TV app available on all Sony Smart TVs via the Sony entertainment network.  Sony is among the top three manufacturers of smart TVs worldwide.

DW’s app unlocks the full potential of smart TV with an attractive layout and on-demand access to the best DW programming and world-class news broadcasting. DW’s multilingual and culturally-tailored content knows no borders and will reach high-end market users of this state-of-the-art entertainment technology.

There are also other options for converging the Internet with television. Set-top-boxes are an alternative to smart TVs for providing audiences with a connected entertainment experience. Some critics consider even them to be a more adaptable and  superior alternative. DW is also available on Amazon Fire  set-top-boxes via the Opera Store ,with on-demand content on any television with a Amazon fire box.The DW for Smart TV app is also available via a Google TV set-top-box.

The next step for DW is a planned rollout of the DW app for Android TV. The horizon for innovation stretches far and wide. In the future it is likely that every living room will eventually have a smart TV and DW will be right where the audience is looking.

 

 

Date

2015-02-13 | 7:17

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Your backstage pass to the Scorpions

The Scorpions, the most successful German rock band of all time, announced in 2010 that they were going to leave the stage forever and wanted to go out loud with a three-year international farewell tour. But somewhere along the way, the magic of rock and roll inspired them to keep going and they are celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2015 with a new album, a world tour and the release of a documentary film co-produced by DW. Directed by Katja von Garnier, Forever and a Day is a must-see for any Scorpions fan. It follows the band on their farewell tour and delivers an intimate portrayal of the musical passion which has sustained them for 50 years. The film premiered on February 7 in Berlin and will be released in Germany on March 26 with international release dates to follow. The film is sure to become another one of DW’s acclaimed musical productions like The Highest Level, with Chinese Pianist Lang Lang or The Beethoven Project, featuring star composer Paavo Järvi. Work on the film began in 2011 and von Garnier used her expert sensitivity and insight to find meaning behind the music. Besides chronicling the challenges and triumphs of the three-year tour, Forever and a Day also reveals secrets of the Scorpion’s history, including never-before-seen footage of super 8 films from the band’s archive. The show must go on and after being inspired by audiences from Thailand to the USA, the Scorpions are going back on tour in 2015, with Forever and a Day being shown in theaters at every stop along the way. After the German release at the end of March, the film will be broadcast worldwide on DW in English, German, Spanish and Arabic. A DVD will also be released.  DW partners on the project were the distribution company Tempest Film, producers DOKfilm ,  German broadcasters ZDF and Arte, Nordmeida Film Promotion and the German Federal Film Board, FFA.

Date

2015-02-09 | 3:17

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An important step to establishing fair and balanced coverage

At the end of 2013, DW recognized that the political tension in Kiev, Ukraine was something that deserved closer attention. DW reporters were on location at the Maidan when it was becoming clear that things were more serious than just public protest. In January 2014, as the situation escalated precipitously, DW released Geofaktor – a Ukrainian-language news magazine that provided a fresh perspective in what was quickly becoming an arena of misinformation.

DW remained a consistent and stable source of information as what began as a protest movement disintegrated into a geopolitical conflict with Russia at the center seeming to steer the region into chaos.

The latest step in DW’s commitment to covering Ukraine is the addition in January of a news bureau in Kiev run by DW correspondent Frank Hofmann. This expansion comes at a critical time just as the conflict in eastern Ukraine is reaching a new phase of escalation.

Coinciding with military conflict in Ukraine is a persistent and aggressive information war from Russia, which is being waged against “pro-western” media coverage. The Kremlin is pouring a lot of resources into a comprehensive international media strategy. The newly-released international online news and radio service Sputnik is at the heart of this. In Kiev alone, Sputnik is said to have a staff of 100.

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Kiev’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko, DW correspondent Frank Hofmann and DW Director General Peter Limbourg

The importance of independent, objective international news like DW becomes all the more important in the fight against the flood of biased news outlets. Built on a tradition of objectivity, integrity and accuracy, international audiences can trust that the reports coming from DW’s Kiev bureau represent the highest standard of news.

 

 

Date

2015-01-30 | 10:18

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