Under the patronage of His Excellency the Minister of Communications, Nicolas Sehnaoui
KunHadi Association and Alfa launched the “A call is too costly while driving” campaign which aims at raising awareness of the risks attached to using cell phones while driving.
Beirut, March 2013 – Under the patronage of His Excellency the Minister of Telecommunications Nicolas Sehnaoui, KunHadi Association launched in cooperation with Alfa, managed by Orascom Telecom, a campaign called “A call is too costly while driving” aimed at raising awareness of the risks attached to using cell phones while driving, in order to reduce road accidents. The campaign was launched during a press conference held at the Press Club and attended by the representative of the Lebanese Army Commander in Chief, General Jean Kahwaji Colonel Najib Khalil; the representative of the General Director of the ISF Major General Ashraf Rifi, Lt. Col. Joseph Moussallem; the representative of the Lebanese Red Cross General Secretary Mr. George Kettanneh, Ms. Rita Salloum; the military police in the UNIFIL under Colonel Luca Petranera; the president of KunHadi Association Mr. Fadi Gibran, Alfa Chairman and CEO, Engineer Marwan Hayek; as well as a number of military and security officials and figures from the civil society and the Lebanese press and audiovisual media representatives . The launch was also attended by directors and advisers within the Ministry of Communications in addition to the administrative bodies in Alfa and KunHadi Association.
The conference began with the Lebanese national anthem, followed by a minute of silence for the souls of all road accident victims in Lebanon.
Mr. Fadi Gebran, President of KunHadi spoke about the causes of road accidents that are increasing annually and explained the risks of using cell phones, and especially of sending SMS while driving. Based on the noteworthy road accident figures at the bottom of this campaign, Gebran highlighted “statistics show that 7 out of 10 drivers talk on the phone or send SMS while driving, and we can assume the other three drivers happened to not receive any call or did not have their cell phones; therefore statistics tell us that 10 out of 10 drivers use their cell phone while driving.”
In a clear reference to the direct relationship between the use of cell phones while driving and road accidents, Gebran underlined that “In 2011, when the BlackBerry service was suspended in the United Arab Emirates for three days, the rate of road accidents dropped by 20% in Dubai and 40% in Abu Dhabi.” Gebran called for “more accurate statistics regarding the number of road accidents and persons killed or injured due to these accidents,” pointing out that “since its inception in 2006, the KunHadi Association has offered to the Lebanese Red Cross programs and computers to help count road accidents.”
During the conference, Mr. Gebran carried out, in participation with the attendees, a live test showing that people cannot focus on two things simultaneously and this applies also to any person while driving. He declared: “Since all religions prohibit suicide or killing and call for respecting others, we have decided that the message of this campaign should be direct as it shows one of the consequences of using the cell phone while driving, that is, hand amputation.” In conclusion, Gebran thanked all those who have cooperated with the Association in order to realize this campaign, particularly Alfa, “the first and only assistant who helped in delivering this awareness message to the largest number of Lebanese people knowing that the company, being a mobile operator would usually aspire for higher mobile usage by subscribers, took instead the most proper decision which is to rescue people”. Gebran also thanked the “Press Club represented by its president, Mr. Joseph Howayek for hosting the press conference and also M&C Saatchi team for developing the advertising campaign.”
Chairman and CEO of Alfa, Engineer Marwan Hayek, thanked all those who helped in creating this campaign, pointing out that “the cell phone has become recently one of the main reasons for not focusing while driving”, “this device that we have wished to be a boon to facilitate communication between people sometimes turned to be a curse, since the cost of a call or SMS, although cheap thanks to Alfa offers, may become very expensive when it endangers our lives.” Hayek underlined that this was the main motive for “us to cooperate with KunHadi to launch this campaign to help reduce the impact of cell phone usage on road accidents, which are rising regularly on an annual basis (4000 roads accidents in 2012 and 6000 wounded and killed people as a result of roads accidents during the same year)”.
Hayek highlighted that the great subscriber demand for social networking and WhatsApp services, and other similar services and applications, has become an addiction as figures show. For example, Alfa subscribers who have now exceeded 1.825 million, send more than 8 million SMS per day; more than 900,000 out of the total subscribers use smart phones while 700,000 are now addicted to sending SMS and using WhatsApp while driving.
“Given such figures, we believe that it is our social obligation within our Alfa 4-Life, CSR Program, to raise awareness among subscribers on the proper use of cell phones and the rational use of our services and such applications so as not to turn this into an addiction that may put their lives and the lives of others at risk”, continued Hayek. Hayek concluded with a message from Alfa to its subscribers saying “Nothing is too expensive for you; hence, Alfa will continue to launch offers that reduce calls and messages costs, but remember that these calls or SMSs may cost you a lot if you’re driving, so always use them with caution”.
Finally the Minister of Telecommunications, H.E. Nicolas Sehnaoui highly praised all who have contributed this campaign, calling out for a total cooperation to deliver this campaign message to protect our children and the youth. Sehnaoui also congratulated Alfa and KunHadi for their initiative and the efficiency of the message “A call is too costly while driving” sustained by figures and statistics taken from our daily lives. He addressed the youth by saying: “Manhood is not achieved through speeding; we must be aware that the speeding hobby should not be practiced on public roads.”
In his speech during the conference, the Press Club President Youssef Howayek called on everyone to support this campaign which is important for the safety of all drivers or pedestrians. From her side, M&C Saatchi representative, Ms. Shermine Hraoui explained the idea of the campaign and wished that everyone acts in response to it.
KunHadi Association mission aims to ensure citizens safety on the roads and change the driving culture of the Lebanese in general and the youth in particular so that they become serious and responsible.
Alfa is the first Lebanese mobile network owned by the Republic of Lebanon and managed by Orascom Telecom. Alfa capitalizes on the vast know-how and international expertise of the Orascom Group of Companies in order to deliver quality and professional solutions for the mobile sector in Lebanon. On October 25, 2011, Alfa was the first mobile operator to launch 3G+ mobile Broadband services in Lebanon. Alfa currently serves 1.8 million subscribers and covers 99% of Lebanon. For more information: http://www.alfa.com.lb
About Orascom Telecom Media and Technology
OTMT is a holding company that has investments in companies with operations mainly in Egypt, North Korea, Pakistan, Lebanon and other North African and Middle-Eastern countries. The activities of OTMT are mainly divided into its GSM, media and technology and cable businesses. The GSM activities include mobile telecommunications operations in Egypt, North Korea and Lebanon. The media and technology division consists of OT Ventures/Intouch Communications Service and the OT Ventures Internet portals and other ventures in Egypt, including LINK Development, ARPU+ and LINKonLINE. The cable business focuses on the management of cable networks. OTMT is traded on the Egyptian Stock Exchange under the symbol (OTMT.CA, OTMT EY).