I refer to recent community reports and a letter which cautions community reporters from taking pictures while driving. It is a good point that has to be given value. Many times, community reports act as an end-user feedback for facilities and services provided by the authorities. Not only do they give interesting insights, but also provide ideas to make the facilities more user-friendly.
They may be from an area that normally does not get attention from the authorities. However, having said the same, taking pictures while driving is extremely dangerous and should never be encouraged. Photo capturing should never be done by the driver. It should be done by the co-passengers at all times. The importance of a combined effort with your fellow passenger comes into action in community reporting. Additionally, readers should make a concurrent effort instantaneously to log on to the “suggestion and have your say” sites of relevant authorities and report the problem they noticed. This will benefit the authorities as they could take action according to the seriousness of the situation. In my experience, they are receptive to ideas and suggestions.
From Mr Ramesh Menon
As a regular in Community Reporting, I wish to stress the importance of a collective effort while identifying, preparing and submitting data.
I will give an example of my own case. I am a regular to community reporting and have an interest for photography and thus carry a sleek and simple automatic camera all the time with me. Whenever I drive, or I am in a car, I am with my family or with my work colleagues, i.e. either my wife, my son or my driver, who are well aware of my keenness to follow and find safety or improvement aspects whenever observed. If I am on the wheels, an indication from me will prompt them to click the pictures for me. In case, I am driving and have no one to assist, I will find a safe place to stop and click it or if it is a moving object, and there is no such place, I wait for the signals or a suitable stop ahead. Even in extreme case where I am unable to do any of these, I note the area and time very clearly in my mind and if possible do a re-run of the same route next time, with someone along with me. The driving habits here have never let me down of such violators as I will find someone else doing the same mistake. However, in all these cases, I will never dare to take a photo of a moving object creating a dangerous driving situation either for me or for other road users.
An awareness on the importance and advantageous of community reporting should be done amongst colleagues and family so that they come out in open and address issues which they get to see or keep within themselves in normal case. May be they are not able to express it in a nice way and they need your help to write and present it. May be they need more guidance and observation. An encouragement in this line will provide you with lots of leads, whether it is dangerous driving, whether it is safety at public place or even indecent acts towards women and children or any other. Those around you will come out and address them and someone could present it to the authorities who in the normal case would never get to know about it.
Community reporting should therefore be encouraged and practised as a combined effort by all, at home or office level.
More and more readers should therefore come out and write without inhibition. Authorities will also find such a proactive scenario benefiting their progressive campaigns and actions. I am sure, the community reporting team of our major newspapers, in particular GULF NEWS would be keen to assist them