(From Left) Salim Mazher, Gopa Kumar, P. C. Omar Image Credit: Francois Nel, Gulf News

Gulf News’ community reporters have stopped focusing on problems. Their focus is entirely on finding a solution.

The newspaper recognises readers who have taken a stand and raised their voice on issues that they felt were important, relevant and required immediate attention.

Today, we acknowledge and award those who have shared their experiences and brought significant matters to the fore during the month of June.

Over the past few months, the Your Turn page’s Community Report section has highlighted myriad subjects that have concerned residents and helped alert the authorities to matters that required urgent attention.

Topics of concern ranged from the shortage of mosques in busy residential areas to a call for book donations.

Readers have found Community Reports to be the best platform to create awareness and turn the spotlight on situations that generate interest and truly affect their lives.

Raising important questions, seeking answers from the relevant authorities and highlighting social issues takes effort. And community reporters do not hesitate to prod and poke if it has a chance of making a real difference.

The community reports published in June were judged by UAE Editor Meher Murshed. The criteria for selection included content, issue, impact on community, responsibility and the quality of contribution.

FIRST PRIZE

Risky rest area for workers

June 14
By: Salim Mazher

Reason for selection:
The community reporter’s observations were highlighted in a telling photograph: an image of construction workers sleeping in a parking lot, in the sweltering midday heat.
According to UAE editor Meher Murshed, the reader raised an issue that had serious repercussions.
He said: “Strong picture with the story. Construction companies must adhere to the Labour Law and provide workers with proper rest areas.”

Profile:
Salim Mazher, of Sharjah, is a health, safety and environment adviser for a petroleum company.
The reader said there was an urgent need to monitor the activities of construction companies.
He said: “I have seen this practice happening a lot. As residents and community reporters, we can only highlight these issues — but it is up to the authorities to crack down on companies that violate the law.”

SECOND PRIZE

Exposed wires could be fatal

June 9
By: Gopa Kumar

Reason for selection:
All it takes is one exposed wire to start a series of disasters.
The reader’s report about one such spot in Sharjah is reminiscent of several others that have been published as community reports in the past. During the annual rains, several residents were also electrocuted because of exposed live wires.
UAE Editor Meher Murshed said the recurrence of this problem indicated a serious oversight.
“The issue of exposed wires has been highlighted time and again by our readers, but scarce little seems to be done. Accidents can be prevented with a little care.”

Profile:
Gopa Kumar is a consultant, based in Sharjah.
The reader said the community report platform encouraged readers to explore their neighbourhoods and find solutions to existing issues.
He said: “No doubt it motivates one to be more vigilant and diligent.”

THIRD PRIZE

Authorities need to fix fallen sign

June 15
By: P. C. Omar

Reason for selection:
Flooded roads may take days to clear up, and parking troubles may have no short-term solution in sight — but how long should it ideally take to repair a broken signboard?
UAE Editor Meher Murshed said: “A month is a long time for a signboard to lie on the ground.”
If problems raised by community reporters were resolved quickly, it would help create a proactive and diligent society.

Profile:
P. C. Omar is an assistant sales manager based in Abu Dhabi. Winning the community report competition for the second time, the reader said: “I walked down the same street a few days after my report was published and saw that the signboard had been fixed.”