The newly elected president of the Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA) wants the international organization to collaborate with like-minded organizations and add the CJA’s voice to those protesting the systemic abuse of journalists. Chris Cobb was named president as the CJA elected a new slate of officers Sunday. The email voting included among members from across the world.

President, Chris Cobb – Canada, Vice-Presidents: Drito Alice – Uganda, Fauzia Shaheen – Pakistan, Bharat Bhushan – India, Shyamal Dutta – Bangladesh, Syed Nahas Pasha – UK, while Executive Committee representants Nadeem Khan – Pakistan, Jayanta Roy Chowdhury – India, Osman Gani Monsur – Bangladesh, Saroj Nagi – India, William Horsley – UK, Debbie Ransome – UK, Ebenezer W Motale – Cameroon.

New CJA President Chris Cobb said he was honored to be leading the association. He noted that in some of the Commonwealth’s 54 countries these are dark days for journalists – exacerbated by the COVID pandemic, which has added to the physical, emotional, and financial ill-treatment being experienced by many reporters and editors.

Cobb and his new team vowed to collaborate with like-minded organizations to add the CJA’s voice to those protesting the systemic abuse of journalists.

“Our priorities over the next few years will also include building the CJA – especially on the African continent,” he said. “And we need to attract more young journalists into the association. I would also like to see us use new communications technologies for innovative training programs, and to join hands across the globe in the spirit of mutual support and in a concerted effort to make the lives of journalists safer and more fulfilling.”

The CJA was founded in 1978 by a group of journalists after a conference of Commonwealth non-governmental organizations in Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada.

The launch had the support of the then Commonwealth Secretary-General Shridath Ramphal as well as the Director of the Commonwealth Foundation. The late Derek Ingram (UK), one of the founding members of the CJA, was elected first President in 1983. Ray Ekpu (Nigeria) was elected to succeed Derek in 1990 and Murray Burt (Canada) was elected in 1997 and again in 2001. Hassan Shahriar (Bangladesh) was elected President in 2003 and again in 2009. Rita Payne (UK) was elected President in 2012, followed by Mahendra Ved (India) in 2016.


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