CJA Britain (UK)

The UK branch of the Commonwealth Journalists Association was first formed in 1987. Chaired by former BBC journalist and editor Rita Payne, CJA UK holds regular topical debates in London at venues including the Houses of Parliament.

For information on its activities please visit the website www.cja-uk.org.

Become a CJA UK member

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*Journalists whose principal earnings are from newspapers, broadcast or online journalism can be full members. Associate membership covers those in closely related fields or earning less than half their incomes from journalism.


Executive Committee

Rita Payne (CJA UK Chair and CJA International President) – 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 was elected international President of the CJA at its conference in Malta on 2 February 2012.

Cheryl Dorall (Secretary) – Cheryl has been a journalist for over 40 years, starting in newspapers in Malaysia where she edited the Sunday Star, a major national and campaigning newspaper in the 1980s. In 1988 she joined the Far Eastern Economic Review in Hong Kong as assistant editor and in 1989 the Commonwealth Secretariat in London as deputy director of its media and information services. She has been deputy spokesperson for seven Commonwealth summit conferences and participated in 10 election observer missions in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Since 2001 she has been a freelance journalist and been communications consultant to the Caribbean Development Bank and the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

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.

Other members (in alphabetical order):

Kailash Budhwar – Former head of Hindi and Tamil section at BBC World Service, Kailash has also worked as a media advisor to the Indian High Commission, London. He is a regular commentator on radio and television and had worked with All India Radio and the National Radio Network of India. Kailash has 13 years of experience teaching at two public schools in India as senior housemaster and head of department. He still briefs on India and Hindi issues at Harrow Public school and at international conferences.



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, bdnews24.com. 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 www.caribbeanintelligence.com.

Raymond Whitaker –Raymond_Whitaker3 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.

Syed Belal Ahmed