“The CJA, a volunteer association of journalists, was set up in 1978. Its aim is to promote free, bold and honest journalism across the Commonwealth. We want to be an organisation whose members feel engaged and supported, one which is robust in defending a free media and protecting journalists.” – Mahendra Ved, CJA President
The CJA is a volunteer association that promotes professional journalism, a free media, and freedom of expression across the Commonwealth.
The CJA supports a free and independent news media throughout the Commonwealth by advocating for journalistic freedom, promoting professional standards for journalists, and ensuring the powerful are called to account.
To create awareness of the need for a free, pluralist media and freedom of expression in all Commonwealth countries
To speak out against abuses of the media, oppression of journalists, and unjust laws that hinder journalists
To provide platforms for the discussion and dissemination of contemporary and journalistic issues
To promote ethical, skilled journalism by providing relevant professional training
To raise the CJA profile and strengthen its capacity to be a force for the promotion of a free media and the protection of journalists
To establish and expand branches in Commonwealth countries
The Commonwealth Journalists Association supports Commonwealth beliefs in democracy, human rights and the dignity of the individual and freedom of expression.
The CJA believes that a free press is essential to establishing and maintaining democracy
The CJA values a free and independent news media; professional training and credentials; the knowledge and experience of journalists working in their own culture; accountability and transparency
Communication and networking with members of other professional and like-minded bodies, international organisations, and with the wider public in the interest of journalist training and media freedom
Promoting the CJA and a free media by speaking at and hosting public events and engaging in outreach on global issues
Building capacity of journalists through panel discussions, briefings by experts and training courses relevant to local needs
Issuing statements on issues of critical international concern and attending related conferences
Triennial conference of the association and its members
The CJA is headed by a President and four Vice-Presidents with an Executive Committee (ExCo) of journalists elected by the conference and drawn from the different regions of the Commonwealth. Day to day work is carried out by a part-time Executive Director, under the direction of the President and ExCo.
The current President is Mahendra Ved, a veteran Indian journalist who has served with the Times of India, Hindustan Times and the United News of India and currently writes a coloumn for several Indian newspapers and for Malaysia’s New Straits Times.
We co-operate closely with other media bodies such as the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association in defending the independence and safety of journalists where these are seen to be in danger. The CJA is also one of the bodies which founded the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI).
Since 1983 the CJA has organised training courses for journalists in many Commonwealth countries and in many fields, such as basic reporting, environmental journalism, election reporting, and financial analysis. Training programmes are funded mainly by the Commonwealth Media Development Fund, which was set up by Commonwealth Heads of Government in 1981.
Every three years or so the CJA holds a major conference of members: Cyprus (1983), India (1987), Barbados (1990), Namibia (1994), Hong Kong (1997), Nigeria (2001) and Bangladesh (2003), Kuching (2008), and Malta (2012).