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Commonwealth Journalists' Association

The Commonwealth Journalists Association’s ninth conference, in Malta between 29 January and 2 February 2012, saw CJA-UK chair and ex-BBC Asia chief Rita Payne elected international president. The four day rally, which was attended by around 80 journalists and editors, also made waves in the international press. Here follows a selection of the coverage:

CJA meet ends condemning state repression – (Bangladesh) by Syed Nahas Pasha

“At the conference, attendees unanimously condemned instances of state repression against media reported out of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and some African member states of the Commonwealth. Regarding the proposed next CHOGM in Sri Lanka (2013), the CJA raised in particular concerns about the issues of press freedom in Sri Lanka and the monitoring of human rights.” More here.


Journalists’ welfare tops training agenda
– Borneo Post by Peter Sibon

“The training and welfare of journalists were among the issues highlighted at the 9th Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA) Conference. Other issues which took centre stage were climate change, press freedom, media law and ethics.

“Among the panelists were some of the finest and well-known journalists from the Commonwealth countries, such as Mehenda Ved from India, Jon William (world news editor of the BBC, UK), Zaffar Abbas (Pakistan), William Horsley (UK) and Chris Cobbs (CJA vice-president from Canada). According to Zaffar, who is a victim of threats and abuse himself, journalists in Pakistan were very vulnerable to danger, including death.” More here.


Former BBC Editor is InternationalPresident of CJA – New Sarawak Tribune (Malaysia) by Adeline Liong

“Regarding the proposed next CHOGM in Sri Lanka (2013),  CJA raised in particular concerns about the issues of press freedom in Sri Lanka and the monitoring of human rights. It further asked Commonwealth member states and associated civil society bodies to renew and strengthen the organisation so t hat it would become a more meaningful global player in the 21st century, as broadly outlined in the Eminent Persons Group report (2011).” Click here to download.


CJA calls for media freedom during 2013 CHOGM in Sri Lanka Bernama (Malaysian National News Agency)

“[Regarding Sri Lanka, the] CJA also called on the delegates to urge journalists to monitor closely the United Nations’ decision on war crimes, and write about the issue while calling on Commonwealth states to raise the issue at [the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting].” More here.


Hassan Shahriar made CJA President Emeritus
– The Daily Star (Bangladesh)

“Hassan Shahriar, a two-term CJA president, has been elected a President Emeritus. Farid Hossain, bureau chief of the Associated Press (AP), Dhaka, a vice-president; and Shyamol Dutta, editor of Bhorer Kagoj, a member; says a press released received here yesterday.

“The conference held from January 29 to February 2 elected Rita Payne, a UK-based journalist, president of the CJA for a three-year term.” More here.


The Telegraph

Isle Full of Noises: Malta and the Commonwealth – The Telegraph (India) by Sunanda K. Datta-Ray

“Malta is not an inappropriate place for CJA members to elect ethnic Assamese but London resident, Rita Payne, now chairman of the British branch, its international president, and engage in robust debate on the future of the 54-member multicultural Commonwealth. Session themes ranged from hi-tech journalism to democratic deficits, sporting scandals to the world after Rupert Murdoch.” More here.



The London Evening PostCJA to monitor observance of media rights in CommonwealthThe London Evening Post by Henry Gombya

“The new International President of the Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA) has made monitoring the observance of media rights among the Commonwealth as one of her top priorities. In a statement she issued soon after being elected to replace Hassan Shahriar as well as in private conversations with fellow journalists, Rita Payne who also chairs the CJA London branch agreed that the association cannot stand by as journalists are persecuted in Commonwealth countries.” More here.


CJA executive committee formed – Daily Sun (Bangladesh)

“Three Bangladeshi journalists have been elected as members of the executive committee of Commonwealth Journalists’ Association (CJA) at its triennial conference in Malta.

“Other office-bearers are president emeritus Derek Ingram (UK), vice presidents Chris Cobb (Canada), Mahendra Ved (India) and Joshua Kyalimpa (Uganda), secretary and treasurer Murray Burt (Canada) and members Syed Nahas Pasha (UK), Drito Alice (Uganda), Caroline Jackson (Malaysia), Fauzia Shaheen (Pakistan).” More here.

Independent and Global Travel, Tourism, Lifestyle, Entertainment News you only find hereCJA makes monitoring media rights in Commonwealth nations a top priority – eTN Global Travel Industry News by Henry Gombya

“Delegates paid tribute to Brian Cantley who for a long time has served the association as International Director. The new President particularly praised Mr. Cantley for the great work he has done this year in making it possible for this conference to take place. He worked relentlessly to organize the payment and delivery of air tickets to delegates, as well as working on the difficult task of getting visas for delegates from developing countries. Brian at times had to dip into his own pockets to pay for the airfares of some delegates. He is retiring from CJA active service.” More here.


Mario de Marco: Technology as the individual’s best weapon against oppressors – Malta Today by Miriam Dalli

“Culture Minister Mario de Marco said that technology has become the means by which people could be saved. ‘In recent months we have all experienced the hopes and anxieties, the joys and the fears of the men and women who brought about the Arab Spring,’ de Marco said at the opening of the Commonwealth Journalists Association’s annual conference.” More here.


9th CJA Conference in Malta opens in style – New Sarawak Tribune (Malaysia)

“The financial crisis is still affecting many countries at different levels. This puts a heavy burden on all of you as you st rive t o balance t he budgetary restructions affecting many media organisations with the best interest of your viewers, readers and listeners who expect from you nothing but the best quality journalism,” [Minister de Mario] said.

“Dr Mario added: “We are living during times where restrictions on journalists are still very strong in a number of countries. The democratic deficit of these countries puts on you great pressures which you will discuss during your conference.” Click here to download.


The London Evening PostCJA conference: The beauty of the Maltese IslandThe London Evening Post by Rajasinghe Bandara

“The memory of Malta to the Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA) is significant for many reasons: the ninth conference of members of the CJA held in Mata from 29 January to 2 February, followed by a tour in Malta on the 3rd; the hospitality of the Maltese people; the ancient glory of Roman Empire and medieval castles, still, very much alive in Valletta (the capital) and Mdina (the old capital), that beautifies the landscape of the country.  That is why many great movies such as ‘Gladiator’’,Alexander’ and ‘Troy’ have been shot (filmed) in Malta. More here.

It’s not just the economy, stupid
– The Times of Malta by Kevin F. Dingli

“As chairman of the Press Ethics Commission, I was accorded the distinct privilege of chairing the particular panel discussion of the Commonwealth Journalists Association’s conference in Malta titled Democratic Deficits.

“Democratic deficit is a famous phrase said to have been coined in 1979 by British political scientist David Marquand to describe the functioning of the then European Community. Such a deficit is generally said to occur whenever an organisation or institution, particularly a government, albeit ostensibly democratic, in fact falls short of fulfilling what are believed to be the principles of democracy.” More here.


The conference also attracted a news item on the website of the Commonwealth Secretariat, an extract of which is below:

Commonwealth journalists call for repeal of repressive media legislation – Commonwealth Secretariat by Victoria Holdsworth

“The [CJA conference] programme also explored the future of the Commonwealth and was addressed by Commonwealth Assistant Secretary-General Steve Cutts, who highlighted changes taking place within the Commonwealth Secretariat.

“He said the organisation must seize the momentum generated by the recent Eminent Persons Group (EPG) report, with proposals for more focused work and stronger impact. The EPG presented its report to leaders at the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia, with 106 recommendations on reform of the Commonwealth.

“Mr Cutts called for the Commonwealth to use its tradition of political influence and consensus-building to break down entrenched differences in areas including press freedom and human rights.” More here.