Our Constitution

Establishment and Name

1. The Commonwealth Journalists Association (hereafter referred to as The Association) was established at a meeting of Commonwealth journalists held in Toronto, Canada, on 16 September 1978.

General Meetings

The authority for the governance of the Association shall be vested in the General Meeting, whose task it will be to issue guidelines to the Executive Committee established under this Constitution for the general management and supervision of the Association’s activities. In addition to such other powers as are conferred upon it elsewhere in this Constitution, the General Meeting shall have power to

a) approve, vary and confirm the minutes of the previous General Meeting;

b) elect the members of the Executive Committee in accordance with this Constitution;

c) receive, consider and adopt, with or without modification, a report from the Executive Committee on the activities of the Association since the last General Meeting, incorporating annual accounts for each year under review which shall be certified by the Association’s auditors;

d) approve or vary the future work programme and the plans of income and expenditure as recommended by the Executive Committee;

e) consider possible options for the dates, venue and host organisations (if any) for the next General Meeting and provide guidelines for the Executive Committee or the London Management Committee acting on its behalf to take into account when a final decision needs to be made ;

delegate to the Executive Committee or the London Management Committee acting on its behalf the authority to appoint and terminate the services of the Association‚ auditor.

19. There shall be a President and one or more Vice-Presidents of the Association who shall be elected by the General Meeting and hold office until elections take place at the following General Meeting;

20. The President of the Association, and in his absence a Vice-President, shall preside at a General Meeting. If the President and both Vice-Presidents are absent, the chair shall be taken by such person as the General Meeting may determine.

21. The Executive Director of the Association shall whenever practicable give at least six months’ notice to all members of the dates and venue of the General Meeting.

22 Decisions at General Meetings will normally be taken on the basis of consensus, but, if a vote becomes necessary, each country represented by at least one full member shall be entitled to one vote to be cast by a voting delegate elected by and from amongst the full members present from that country. A decision in such cases shall be taken by a simple majority except as provided under Articles 31 and 45.

23. General meetings as provided for in this Constitution may be held in association with and at the same venue as a conference convened by the Association and open to Association members for the purpose of discussing a subject or subjects of professional interest to Commonwealth journalists.

Executive Committee

24. The overall direction of the business of the Association, subject to such directives as may be given by the General Meeting, shall vest in an Executive Committee constituted as hereinafter provided, which shall hold office between General Meetings.

The executive Committee shall comprise the President and Vice-Presidents of the Association and twelve other members, and shall be elected by the General Meeting from the full members of the Association. The Committee may co-opt other persons at its discretion. The President of the Association shall be the Chairman of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall appoint an Honorary Treasurer.

26. A member of the Executive Committee may appoint an alternative to act in his name in his absence form a meeting of the Executive Committee.

27. In determining membership of the Executive Committee, the General Meeting shall, so far as practicable, ensure that it reflects the nature and diversity of the Commonwealth.

28. The Executive Committee shall meet prior to and immediately after each General Meeting and, if funding is available, once in every year between General Meetings. Meetings of the Executive Committee shall take place at such times and places as the Committee itself may decide. The quorum for meetings of the Executive Committee shall be five.

29. The Executive Committee shall, subject to the general control and direction of the General Meeting, have the authority to –

a) convene General Meetings and establish their provisional agenda, and the dates and venues of such meetings;

b) issue invitations to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, to other Commonwealth professional associations as may seem appropriate and to associations of professional journalists outside the Commonwealth, to attend a General Meeting as observers;

c) present a report to the General Meeting reviewing the activities undertaken by the Association since the preceding General Meeting;

d) circulate such other reports to members on the activities of the Association as it thinks fit or as may be called for by the General Meeting;

e) plan and propose the work programmes for the Association or consideration by the General Meeting;

f) receive and mange funds on behalf of the Association;

g) present a financial report, including audited annual reports for the years under review and the provisional budget for the following years, for consideration by the General Meeting;

h) implement the Association’s general work programme as approved by the General Meeting, with authority to modify the approved plan of expenditure in the light of unforeseen circumstances;

i) appoint the Executive Director of the Association and fix his remuneration and other terms and conditions of employment;

j) do all other acts as appear to be necessary or fitting to be done in order to carry into full operation and effect the objectives of the Association.

30. Decisions of the Executive Committee will normally be taken by consensus but, if necessary, may be made by a simple majority of members present and voting. Each member shall have one vote. A co-opted member shall not vote.

31. The Executive Committee may, if it thinks fit, transact any business by the circulation of papers and a decision approved in writing by a majority of its members shall have the same effect as if it had been made at a meeting of the Executive Committee

32. If the Executive Committee should find it impossible to carry out any of its functions, whether because of the difficulty or expense of convening meetings of Committee members or the impracticability of transacting specific items of business through the circulation of papers or for any other reason, it may, at its discretion, delegate responsibility for carrying out such functions or for the transaction of such business to the London Management Committee.

Management Committee *

33. The Management Committee (hereinafter to be called the Management Committee‚ shall comprise twelve members, each of whom shall be nominated or approved by an ordinary member of the Executive Committee (i.e. a member other than the President and Vice-Presidents) as his or her representative in considering and undertaking such business as may necessarily be delegated by the Executive Committee to the Management Committee, including convening General Meetings and establishing their agenda, presenting reports on the Association‚ activities to General Meetings, planning and proposing the work programmes of the Association, receiving and managing funds on behalf of the Association, presenting a financial report to the General Meeting, implementing the Association‚ work programme, appointing the Executive Director of the Association and transacting such other business as may appear to be necessary or fitting to be done on behalf of the Executive Committee to carry into effect the objectives of the Association.

[* Requires next GM constitution ratification from former London management committee, but adjusted to accommodate move to Toronto.]

34. Members appointed to sit on the Management Committee shall normally be journalists resident in Canada [*the United Kingdom* who are citizens of Commonwealth countries and shall, so far as possible, be chosen so as to reflect the nationalities of members of the Executive Committee. The Management Committee may, at its discretion, co-opt other members of the Association resident in the United Kingdom to participate in its deliberations.

[* Requires next GM constitution ratification from former United Kingdom, but adjusted to accommodate move to Toronto.]

35. Meetings of the Management Committee shall normally take place four times annually. The Committee will choose by consensus one of its members to act as chairman. Meetings will be convened by the Executive Director, who will also participate in the meetings, together with the Executive Secretary.

36. Minutes of the meetings of the Management Committee together with any supporting papers shall be sent to the President and Vice-Presidents and to the other members of the Executive Committee as soon as possible after the meetings have taken place.

37. Decisions of the Management Committee will normally be taken by consensus but, if necessary, may be made by a simple majority of members present and voting. Each member shall have one vote.

[* Requires next GM constitution ratification removing the phrase ‚ co-opted member shall not vote

Executive Director of the Association

38. In addition to such other duties as he or she may have under this constitution the duties of the Executive Director shall be –

a) to administer the day-to-day business and affairs of the Association,

b) to keep the accounts of the Association and operate within the authorised plan of expenditure;

c) to be responsible for the preparation and distribution of the publications of the Association;

d) to maintain relations with members of the Association;

e) to prepare and circulate documents for General Meetings and for meetings of the Executive Committee and the Management Committee;

f) to present to the Executive Committee and the Management Committee an audited statement of account;

g) to carry out such other duties, as may from time to time, be required by the General Meeting, the Executive Committee or the Management Committee.

Finance

39. The funds of the Association shall comprise –

a) annual membership subscriptions;

b) grants, special contributions and other forms of income from such private foundations, international agencies and other bodies as the Executive Committee and/or the Management Committee shall approve.

40. The funds of the Association shall be applied exclusively to the purposes of the Association.

41. The Association‚ financial year will run from *the 1st January to December 30th

[* Requires next GM constitution ratification from June 1 to May 30 the next year.]

By- Laws

42. The General Meeting may make by-laws within the form work of this Constitution for the furtherance of the objectives of the Association. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, such by-laws may provide for-

a) the procedure for the nomination of members of the Executive Committee;

b) the procedure for the nomination and election of the President and Vice-Presidents of the Association;

c) a system of rotation of membership of the Executive Committee having regard to the desirability of broad regional representation;

d) financial matters, including the keeping of accounts and their audit;

e) the filling of vacancies on the Executive Committee between General Meetings;

f) the appointment of an interim President in the event of the retirement or incapacity of the elected President;

g) the keeping, approval and circulating of minutes of General Meetings, and meetings of the Executive and Management Committees;

h) procedures for the conduct of General Meetings and meetings of the Executive and Management Committees and the giving of notices in connection with such meetings;

i) the circumstances in which membership of the Association may be suspended or the recognition of a branch of the Association may be withheld or withdrawn, including the procedure for, and the consequences of, such suspension or of the withholding or withdrawal of recognition of a branch;

j) the conferment of honorary life membership on persons who have rendered distinguished service to Commonwealth journalism;

k) the participation in the affairs of the Association of General Meeting or otherwise of observers and other interested parties.

Amendment of Constitution

43. This constitution shall not be amended except at a General Meeting of the Association, and such amendment shall not be valid unless not less than two thirds of those present and eligible to vote, vote in favour of the amendment proposed.

44. An amendment to this constitution may be proposed by the Executive Committee or by a member of the Association and such proposal must be notified to the Executive Director of the Association not less than two months before the date of the General Meeting at which it is to be considered. The Executive Director shall circulate the notice of the proposal forthwith to all members of the Executive and Management Committees, and as far as practicable, to all members of the Association..

Dissolution

45. The association shall not be dissolved except by a resolution passed by the General Meeting by the affirmative vote of not less than two thirds of the members present and eligible to vote.

Formation of Branches

13. Full and associate members in the same region or country will, whenever practicable, form themselves into a regional or national branch.

14. Each branch shall elect a managing committee with responsibility for formulating branch policy in accordance with the general aims and objectives of the Association as a whole, for collecting members fees (where appropriate) and organising functions and activities in keeping with the needs and interests of branch members.

15. Where authorised to collect membership fees from local members of the Association, a branch may retain the cost of organising members‚activities, forwarding the balance to the Executive Director as a contribution to the general income of the Association, unless prevented from doing so by local currency regulations or other difficulties.

16. It shall be the responsibility of branches to liase with the Association‚Äö central Secretariat on a regular basis (i.e. at least once a year), reporting on the state of the branch, providing an account of branch activities and significant local developments relevant to the media or affecting the well-being of journalists and, where authorised to collect local membership fees, submitting an audited statement of income and expenditure to the Executive Director in London.

17. Any branch failing to liase with the Executive Director on a regular basis or, where authorised to collect membership fees from local members, failing without reasonable cause to forward the appropriate proportion of the total to the Executive Director, may after due warning and subject to the overall authority of the President and the Executive Committee, be deemed to have forfeited its status as a recognised branch of the Association.

Aims and Activities

The aims of the Association are: to promote friendship and understanding between journalists throughout the Commonwealth; to do all in its power to raise the standard of journalism and improve the status of Commonwealth journalists; to assist journalists in Commonwealth to fulfil their key role of supporting and participating in the democratic process, and to defend the rights of Commonwealth journalists to freedom of expression and to carry on their work without hindrance or fear of harassment from the authorities or any other source. The Association will, at the same time, seek by every available means to promote understanding and goodwill between Commonwealth peoples.

3. The Association shall pursue its aims by:

a) where possible, providing facilities for the exchange of journalists between Commonwealth member countries;

b) providing training for journalists in developing Commonwealth countries in response to local needs;

c) organising conferences, seminars and workshops on subjects of particular relevance to the work of Commonwealth journalists and the promotion of Commonwealth ideals;

d) monitoring journalists‚ freedom to pursue their legitimate activities and, where such freedom is in jeopardy, making such representations to the local authorities in defence of their personal and professional rights as may seem appropriate and necessary;

e) publishing on a regular basis a journal or newsletter to publicise the work of the Association and bring to the notice of members matters of common interest to journalists throughout the Commonwealth, and

f) seeking to collaborate with other like-minded professional associations and other interested bodies both within and outside the Commonwealth on all matters having a bearing on the work, professional interests and personal well-being of Commonwealth journalists.

4. The Association shall not support with its funds, or otherwise endeavour to impose on or procure the observance by its members or others of any regulation or restriction which, if applied to the Association, would make it a trade union.

Membership

The Association is a body comprising full individual members, associate members and corporate members.

6. Full membership of the Association will be open to journalists who are citizens of a Commonwealth country. (For the purposes of this constitution,

“journalist” means a person whose principal earnings are derived from editing or writing for a journal or newspaper, or for a broadcasting organisation, or from photojournalism.)

7. Associate membership will be open to part-time journalists and to persons working in fields closely related to journalism, who are citizens of Commonwealth countries.

8. Corporate or affiliated membership will be open to organisations within the Commonwealth whose aims and purposes closely resemble those of the Association and the predominant proportion of whose members would as individuals be eligible to full membership of the Association.

9. The annual fees for full, associate and corporate membership shall be determined by the Executive Committee which, in determining the level of fee to be paid by members in a given country or region, will take into account the stage of economic development of the country or region concerned in the light of information received from time to time from the Commonwealth Secretariat and the United Nations.

10. Annual membership fees shall normally be payable to the Executive Director of the Association. Where a national or regional branch of the Association has been established, however, payment of the annual fee may, at the discretion of the Executive Director, be paid to the branch.

11. A member may withdraw from the Association by giving three months’ notice in writing to the Executive Director, or in the case of branch members, to the president or chairman of the local branch.

12. Any member whose fees have not been paid for six months after the date on which they became due may be deemed to have lapsed from membership.