Sharing Discussing Understanding

Commonwealth Journalists' Association

The UK Branch:

The executive committee of the UK branch of the CJA consists of senior journalists in the UK.

Rita Payne (Chair) – Rita Payne has worked extensively with TV and radio. She retired in 2008 as Asia Editor of BBC World News (TV) after nearly 30 years with the BBC. She is now chairman of the Commonwealth Journalists Association (UK branch) and has been invited to speak and chair discussions at various events in London and abroad. At BBC World TV, she was responsible for three daily news programmes with the focus on Asia. In addition to her role as UK branch chair, Rita is a past President of the CJA from 2012 to 2016 and is now CJA’s Emeritus President .

Martin Lumb (Treasurer) – A freelance journalist, formerly a correspondent and editor with the BBC World Service. Martin has reported widely from southern Africa and south Asia, and began his international career on the Daily Nation in Kenya. He now specialises in media issues for international organisations and has worked as a communications consultant for the United Nations.

Syed Belal Ahmed

Syed Nahas Pasha – One of the most respected British-Bangladeshi journalists in the UK and the editor in chief of the Weekly Janomot, a Bangla newspaper established in 1969. Syed is also editor in chief of restaurant magazine Curry Life and UK bureau chief of the largest Bangladeshi online news agency, He is one of the founding members and former general secretary of the London Bangla Press Club, which acts as a voice for British Bangladeshi journalists, and has worked with government bodies including the Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office.


Mike Popham – Mike Popham spent over 30 years as a producer with the BBC World Service having started his career in the African Service. He also worked for a time in BBC TV current affairs and had an attachment to Radio Nederland to run its Africa department. He won a Commonwealth Relations Trust bursary to Australia and covered two CHOGMs – Melbourne 1981 and Kuala Lumpur 1989. He is now a freelance journalist and member of BAFTA, Chatham House, MCC and the Royal African Society based in London.

Debbie Ransome – Debbie Ransome is British born of Trinidadian parents and spent her early life enjoying the best of both worlds. She worked as News Editor and then News Director at Radio Trinidad before joining BBC’s Caribbean Service as a producer in the early 90s. Debbie worked as a producer at Bush House at the Caribbean Service and also in the World Service newsroom before moving to work on BBC World TV news. Later on, Debbie returned from BBC TV to run the Caribbean Service at Bush House. She has also worked on the BBC’s new headquarters project, at BBC’s Radio 4 network and at BBC News Online’s World Desk. Debbie is currently the Editor of the CJA Newsletter and Managing Editor of Caribbean Diaspora website

Raymond Whitaker – Raymond Whitaker is a freelance writer and editor, specialising in international affairs, aid issues, and travel. Until March 2009 Raymond was a senior writer and editor at The Independent on Sunday in London, ending as Foreign Editor. A founding member of The Independent foreign staff when the paper was founded in 1986, Raymond became Asia Editor in 1990, covering, among other stories, the fall of the Communist regime in Afghanistan, the funeral of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines and the first visit to China by a Japanese emperor. He moved to the Sunday paper in 1996.