Dubai: Some people complain, others turn a blind eye. But our readers are unique — they know the least they can do is try.
The newspaper recognises community reporters who raised their voice on issues that they felt were important, relevant and required immediate attention.
Today, we acknowledge and award those who shared their experiences and brought significant matters to the fore during the month of August.
Over the past year, the Your Turn page's Community Report section has highlighted myriad subjects that concerned residents and helped alert the authorities about matters that required urgent attention.
Topics of concern ranged from building walls tainted with graffiti to the need for more mosques in residential areas.
Readers have found Community Reports to be the right platform to create awareness and turn the spotlight on situations that generate interest and truly impact their lives.
Raising important questions, seeking answers from the relevant authorities and highlighting social issues take effort. And community reporters do not hesitate to prod and poke, if there's a chance of making a real difference.
The community reports published in August were judged by UAE Editor Meher Murshed. The criteria for selection included content, issue, impact on community, responsibility and the quality of contribution.
Here are the winners:
First prize: Jet skis terrorise joggers on their Marina route
Published on August 8, 2010
By Murat Maktalan
Reason for selection
When jet skiers unapologetically took to drenching joggers for fun, it indicated a new kind of social nuisance.
While many residents would usually choose to grimace and bear it, the community reporter decided to highlight the issue and call for action.
UAE Editor Meher Murshed said: "The reason this report was awarded first place is because it raises a social issue. It is an example of a comprehensive community report, as the reader presents practical solutions that can be applied. It was also well thought-out and well-structured. We would like to encourage other community reporters to think along the same lines when reporting."
Profile: Murat Maktalan
Maktalan is a senior manager, based in Dubai. He felt the issue was worth highlighting because it presented a "really annoying" scenario for joggers, who are powerless to counter the problem.
He said: "There is really nothing you can do other than shout at the [jet skiers]."
The community reporter urged the authorities to help curb this nuisance, as it discouraged people from exercising and walking along the Dubai Marina.
Second prize: Reeking creek
Published on August 19, 2010
By Mary Jean Geraga
Reason for selection
What started out as a pleasant walk by the Deira Creek quickly turned into a nightmarish exhibition of trash and dead fish for the community reporter.
Disturbed by the sight, she sent in a telling photograph and a few words.
UAE Editor Meher Murshed commended her proactive effort and quick thinking. He said: "The picture tells the entire story. It is a powerful example of photojournalism."
Profile: Mary Jean Geraga
Geraga is an engineer, based in Dubai. According to the reader, community reports serve as the perfect medium between readers and decision-making bodies. She said: "It encourages and motivates people to be vigilant in every aspect and express their views regarding issues they think others need to know about."
While the situation at the Creek has improved, much more needs to be done.
The community reporter said: "I saw that the garbage was gone, but I could still see plenty of dead fish [floating] down the Creek. Could they have been poisoned? The authorities must investigate the problem."
Third prize: No traffic light at busy junction
Published on August 22, 2010
By Abdul Jaleel
Reason for selection
In his powerful photograph, the community reporter captures the hazards of pedestrian life at one of the busiest junctions in Sharjah — the National Paints roundabout.
He also provides a solution that he considered to be both simple and effective — traffic lights, paired with zebra crossings.
UAE Editor Meher Murshed said: "This is a common issue. The reader has used the photograph to effectively tell the story of jaywalking and the need for a pedestrian crossing."
Profile: Abdul Jaleel
Jaleel works in a cargo transport company, in Dubai. According to the community reporter, the roundabout is as busy as ever — and there is still no pedestrian crossing in sight.
He hoped that his community report would make a positive change. "[Such] reports give us a voice and highlight many issues that [readers] would like to bring to the notice of relevant authorities."