Revolutionary Egyptian website Mosireen up for prestigious German award

Ati Metwaly and Bel Trew, Tuesday 3 Apr 2012

Revolutionary Egyptian media collective is only Arabic website nominated for international Deutsche ‎Welle awards honouring online groups promoting freedom of expression; Mosireen currently in ‎second place

Mosireen running for BOBs award

This month, Mosireen, an Egyptian media collective of filmmakers and citizen journalists is running for the prestigious Deutsche Welle International Blog awards (The BOBs) in the Best Video Channel category. 

Born out of the need to combat state-media rhetoric, to document events and build a footage archive, Mosireen has created the most comprehensive collection of often-shocking videos from the ongoing Egyptian revolution. 

The Egyptian collective is the only Arabic website featured in the Best Video Channel category. Only one day after opening of the BOBs poll, Mosireen ranked as second, right after Internaitismo, a Spanish channel that presents problems in the society "with laughter."

The BOBs have been operating since 2004 and are part of the Deutsche Welle (DW, Germany's international broadcaster). The awards are organised annually and aim to give recognition to the best website promoting freedom of expression.

The BOBs honour websites in 11 languages including English, French, Arabic and Bengali within 17 categories: Best Blog, Best Social Activism Campaign, Best Video Channel, among others.

This year over 3,200 submissions were sent to BOBs and the jury has narrowed the selection to 187 candidates, including Mosireen. Many bloggers, activists and video channels from the Arab World and beyond competed for this year's BOB award.

Mosireen comes from an Arabic word meaning "those who insist" and is a word game on the term Misreen (Egyptians).  

Although its members started collecting footage during the 18 days, their YouTube channel shot to significance in October 2011, following the video they made about the Maspero massacre, which saw 27 protesters killed by the military during a protest outside the state television headquarters.

Just a few weeks after its creation, Mosireen became the most viewed non-profit YouTube channel in Egypt and in January 2012 it was the most viewed non-profit channel in the whole world.

During the months of their activities, the collective has created numerous videos based on footage and video testimonies collected from people who participate in protests, often risking their lives.

The cameramen and woman are either Mosireen members or volunteers who provide their material for free, sometimes handing over clips from their mobile phones. Mosireen edit the footage and post it on their YouTube channel.

These clips have been key in combating state-propagated untruths. A recent example is when the Minister of Interior claimed no shotgun pellets were used by the police in the February clashes with protesters on Mansour and Mohammed Mahmoud streets, downtown Cairo. 

 The collective responded with video footage of Egyptian security forces firing into crowds, as well as documenting eyewitness accounts from protesters who were shot at and badly wounded.

Apart from films, the collective also hold many meetings and talks, along with workshops and training sessions.

Mosireen has also launched weekly screenings of films by international filmmakers exploring areas of conflict on a political, social or individual level.

Among its members are Khalid Abdalla, Lobna Darwish, Aida El-Kashef, Omar Robert Hamilton, Jasmina Metwaly, Philip Rizk, Salma Said and Tamer El-Said. They are joined by many other Egyptian political activists, journalists, citizen journalists and filmmakers: all aiming to document the revolution, unveil realities and then to present them to a wider audience.

All the Internet-using public is invited to vote in the BOBs awards, once per category per 24 hours per network.

The polls are open until 1 May and the winner will be announced right after the voting closes.

To place your vote, visit The Deutsche Welle International Blog Awards website here

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