Nominations open today (December 29, 2009) for the Breaking Borders Award, a new prize created by Google and Global Voices to honor outstanding web projects initiated by individuals or groups that demonstrate courage, energy and resourcefulness in using the Internet to promote freedom of expression. The award is also supported by Thomson Reuters.
The Breaking Borders Award builds upon the values expressed in the Global Voices Manifesto, the document co-written on a wiki in 2004 to articulate the guiding principles of the organization and community that would come to be known as Global Voices. The Manifesto opens with the words:
“We believe in free speech: in protecting the right to speak — and the right to listen. We believe in universal access to the tools of speech.
To that end, we seek to enable everyone who wants to speak to have the means to speak — and everyone who wants to hear that speech, the means to listen to it.”
The Breaking Borders Award also complements the work of Global Voices Advocacy, which was formed in February 2007 to bring focus to the organization's freedom of expression-related activities.
The Breaking Borders Award is open to people of all nationalities. Winners will be selected by a panel of experts in the field of freedom of expression. A cash prize of $10,000 will be awarded in each of three areas:
1. Advocacy, given to an activist or group that has used online tools to promote free expression or encourage political change
2. Technology, given to an individual or group that has created an important tool that enables free expression and expands access to information
3. Policy, given to a policy maker, government official or NGO leader who has made a notable contribution in the field
Nominations for the Breaking Borders Award can be submitted at http://www.breakingborders.net and close on February 15, 2010.