WHO-trained journalists win national road safety reporting award in Viet Nam

WHO-trained journalists have won first prize in Viet Nam’s annual national road safety media awards.

The interactive set of stories on disability inclusive transport won the multimedia category of the prestigious annual awards that are hosted by Viet Nam’s National Traffic and Safety Committee.

“For people who live with disabilities, accessible transport means so much more than just easy travel. It represents their desire to be fully integrated into society, to access schools, jobs and healthcare, and to reach their full potential,” says Voice of Viet Nam Journalist [Ms] Tang Hai Ha, who led the award-winning team, and took part in a WHO road safety reporting training in December 2022.

The report, titled ‘The path to hope,’ was one of the first of its kind in Viet Nam to be fully accessible to visually impaired readers. It notes that despite progress, much of Viet Nam’s public transport remains largely inaccessible for disabled users, who account for seven per cent of the country’s 98 million people.

“On rainy days, potholes are flooded so I can’t see them,” says [Ms] Ho Thi Thu Mai, a student and national gold medal-winning athlete from Ho Chi Minh City. “If my [motorized tricycle] hits a pothole, it could flip over into the road and I could be crushed by other vehicles.”

The report notes that, ‘Around 10 per cent of Viet Nam’s 10,000 buses have accessible low floors for wheelchair users [At some bus stops] ramps are in place for wheelchair users, however, to stop motorbikes from using them, barriers have been installed that make the ramps inaccessible again. Similarly, many bus stops lack tactile paving and information in Braille for visually impaired people.’

“People with disabilities hope that everyone involved in traffic planning will listen carefully to us,” says [Mr] Vo Quy, a former journalist who is visually impaired. “Laws must be fully implemented to avoid barriers. I believe that if there are no impediments, then there are no truly disabled people.”

As part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety, the Road Safety Reporting initiative offers training for journalists, as well as resources, data, and links to learning tools to help journalists dig-deeper into the causes of road traffic deaths and injuries.

“Journalists have a crucial role to play in calling for policies and actions that save lives and ensure that all road users can enjoy safe, sustainable and accessible mobility, as is everyone’s right,” says Dr Nhan Tran, Head of Safety and Mobility at WHO.

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