On dealing with media

The Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) had streamlined issuing driving license.  Aspiring drivers have to go through a series of tests before they are licensed to drive.  This is to ensure safety of the driver and, thereby, others as well.

The authority is also strict when it comes to the test, both theory and practical.  So, a lot of people try to bypass the test or use tricks to get a license.  Recently, the authority caught hold of someone, who tried to do the same.  The candidate has, reportedly, used a relative, who can drive, to do the highway test, a part of the practical test.

The authority is reportedly investigating the impersonation case.  Credit to the authority for, through their vigilance, they have prevented someone from getting the license by cheating the system.

The details are flimsy.  This is because the authority is tightlipped and even denying that such a thing had happened.  Kuensel had got a whiff of the incident when a reporter overheard RSTA officials talking about it.  He went to verify the information because it was an important story.  Besides there are reports that people always tried to bend rules.

It then took two reporters two days and at the end of the second day, all they got was an ultimatum.  Authorities said they weren’t aware of such an incident.  The director general denied having any information and after repeated requests, the reporters were asked to reveal the source of the little information they had, which they wanted to verify with him.

He felt the story was not worth writing, and then offered to share the information, if Kuensel revealed the source that shared the ‘premature information’.  That was a deal media wouldn’t expect from people with authority and information.  There was nothing ‘sensitive’ about the incident.  In fact, the RSTA had done its job and found out that someone had tried to hoodwink an authority.  And to its credit, the authority has not stopped Kuensel from writing the story, but without information.

What is baffling is the way officials are trying to hide information and striking deals with the media.  Kuensel’s interest in the incident was not to ‘victimise the agency’, as was claimed, but to highlight an issue that could have repercussions.

By reporting the incident, it could help all of us.  People will be more aware of how the authority can clamp down on those trying to cheat the system.  Media are often used to warn people and spread messages; in this case, the story could have been a deterrent factor.

Strict rules and stringent monitoring in issuing driving licenses is what we need today, given that hundreds of lives are lost in motor vehicle accidents every year.  Just having a driving license will not prevent accidents, especially if it is obtained by bypassing the rules.

We raise this issue, at the risk of losing advertisements from the authority in the form of vital public notifications and announcements, not to oppose the views of the authority, but because there is a lack of understanding of the media, especially when it comes to dealing with them.

1 reply
  1. irfan
    irfan says:

    A safe driving culture is must for road safety. When it comes to riding bikes, safety is even more important. Unlike the ancient time of riding, there is no horses involved to correct the riders’ mistakes.

    It’s totally unfortunate if someone suggests that it were a lot safer in the past when there was no licensing involved for driving or riding. Today we need a lot more specialised driving instructors who are capable of handling the demanding driving requirements, from the private vehicles to the commercial ones to the departmental or heavy vehicles.

    So if RSTA is rightly prepared to make the driving tests tough and challenging, we need some driving schools with skilled instructors who can enable us with the required skills to pass those tests. Having said that, we don’t want these schools to become just another certified to certify kind institutes. That will defeat the very purpose.

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