WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Four winners were chosen by a public vote for Citizen Media: A Global Innovation Competition. The winners are breakthrough innovations that boost media access and participation around the world. Each will receive a cash prize of US $5,000.

The winners emerged from a pool of finalists selected by a panel of expert judges that included Esther Wojcicki, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, Creative Commons, and Sanjana Hattotuwa, founding editor of Groundviews. Over 400 entries were submitted from 75 countries.

“The Citizen Media competition has uncovered exciting new strategies for enabling all global citizens to have a voice,” said Jacquelline Fuller, director of charitable giving and advocacy at Google.org. “We were especially thrilled to see so many solutions working to help underserved communities engage freely and powerfully with information.”

To help investors, social entrepreneurs, and citizens connect with these innovations, Ashoka Changemakers presents the Citizen Media Toolkit, a web-based navigation tool that showcases the competition’s top entries and a wealth of new insights via expert commentary, the Citizen Media Innovation Guide, and blog posts.

“The Citizen Media competition is about harnessing the explosion of innovation in the knowledge and media realms in order to empower people everywhere to change their lives and communities,” said Diana Wells, president of Ashoka. “The Toolkit further advances that goal by helping investors and innovators continue to drive powerful solutions that are transforming the citizen media landscape.”

Ashoka will also select five citizen media entrepreneurs for prestigious Ashoka Fellowships, which typically provide a three-year living stipend, international recognition, and access to a network of systems-changing social entrepreneurs. The first Fellow is Raed Othman, whose non-profit Ma’an Network includes a tri-lingual online independent news agency, 12 local radio stations, eight local television stations, an in-house research unit, and a partnership with international satellite channels to broadcast across the Arab world.

The Citizen Media winners are:
5th Pillar – Empowering Citizens to Tackle Corruption (India) — 5th Pillar’s anti corruption tools empowers EVERY citizen to be a corruption buster.
CrowdVoice.org – Tracking Voices of Protest (Bahrain) — CrowdVoice offers a new way to view, share, moderate, and organize information about human rights movements and demonstrations.
Discover and Share the True Story One Bite at a Time (Argentina) — InSTEDD iLab America Latina allows everyone to play a role in creating, validating, and extending the bigger picture of a story with information bites they know.
FreedomBox – Turnkey Private, Anonymous, Secure Communication in a Box (United States) — Minimal configuration and high-tech privacy, anonymity, security on a small low-watt computer for non-expert end-users.

Top Innovations Win the Ashoka Changemakers Citizen Media: A Global Innovation Competition, Supported by Google

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