2nd Road Safety Sensitization Workshop for Journalists

3 October 2018, New Delhi

As a part of the Road Safety Journalism Fellowship 2018, WHO Country Office for India, in partnership with Centre for Communication and Change – India, organized a road safety sensitization workshop for journalists on 3 October 2018 at New Delhi.

Aimed at improving the coverage and quality of reportage with stories ‘beyond-the-crash’, the workshop brought together 12 journalists representing print media, social media, radio, and television, etc. It was a convergence of traditional media and new media, with a focus on data journalism and solutions journalism. The participating fellows were from prominent media houses in Delhi, Meerut, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.

In her opening remarks, Dr Payden, Deputy WHO Representative to India, drew attention to the disturbing reality of road crashes, which is one of the top 10 leading killers for all age groups. She shared Government of India statistics indicating that road traffic injuries are among the top four leading causes of death and health loss among persons of age group 15-49 years.

Stressing on the need to achieve SDG 2030 agenda, with respect to specific targets related to road safety, she said, “There is enough global experience to emphasise that most positive changes to road user behaviour happen when road safety legislation is supported by strong and sustained enforcement, and where the public is made aware of the reasons behind the new law and the consequences of non-compliance.”

“I am hopeful of passage of Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill in Upper House during the coming Parliament session,” she added.

Dr Fikru Tullu, Team Lead for NCDs, WHO India made an in-depth presentation on the need and growing importance of road safety. In his presentation, he addressed key issues of burden of road traffic injuries and fatalities, quality of data and reliability of estimates, global plan of action for road safety and the roadmap for national response.

The sessions were facilitated by sectoral experts and provided a holistic perspective on road safety issues. Specifically, the workshop covered key issues: Legislative enforcement, black spots related to road safety, community-driven issues, the perspectives of MoHFW and solutions journalism. The overall focus was on data, advocacy and multi-sectoral comprehensive response built around a safe systems approach.

The thematic sessions were followed by a field-visit to pre-identified sites, known as black-spots, due to recurrence of accidents and casualties. This provided a more in-depth understanding of the concept of ‘solutions journalism’ to the participating fellows, who in turn committed their full support to covering more of such stories.

Among the prominent dignitaries present at the event were Dr Tanu Jain, ADG, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare; Mr Taj Hassan, Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Delhi; Mr Amar Shrivastava, Indian Road Safety Campaign – SOLVE; Ms Meenakshi Midha, Advocate, Supreme Court of India; Dr Sunil Saxena, Bennett University; Prof. Vidya Deshpandey, Bennett University.

In an endeavour to build the capacity of media fraternity specifically to enhance the coverage and quality of road safety reportage in media, WHO embarked on this agenda in the month of August 2018, when the first workshop on Road Safety Journalism Fellowship was organised. A similar initiative undertaken in the year 2017 resulted in the publication of 89 stories in a span of three months. The editor’s roundtable is expected to be held in the first week of December 2018.