Protecting Journalists and Improving Professionalism- Congress of African Journalists Invesage

The finest bird has appeared in the nest of professional journalistic organizations in Africa. Congress of African Journalists (CAJ), was birthed by gurus in the pen pushers firmament with the vision of protecting journalists and improving professionalism. 

Since its incorporation in Nigeria in November 2020, CAJ has attracted the largest networks of men and women in the noble pen profession for its glaring and stupendous uniqueness. The organization is the only indigenous organization of journalists of African origin with extensions in the diaspora. Hence, CAJ covers the continent of Africa and diaspora as an umbrella body for journalists who are of African descent and those who perhaps might have not been born in the continent but can also trace their ancestry to Africa all over the world. This is to also say that CAJ is a global organization for journalists who are Africans.

The formation of CAJ was conceptualized by Michael Adeboboye, a Nigerian International Journalist and editor, Ashraf Aboul-Yazid Dali, a renowned international and award-winning Egyptian journalist and poet, Emannuela Maikem (Cameroon), Ambe Macmillian (Cameroon), Ajong M. Laurean, Managing Editor, Pan African Visions Magazine, USA, Addy Makenzie, multimedia journalist, Zimbabwe, Habibbah Bolaji, Nigerian award-winning veteran journalist, Amina W. Mussa, former BBC Somali senior Journalist, United Kingdom.

As of today, CAJ has networks in over 30 different African countries and diaspora: Egypt, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Eswatini, South Africa, Kenya, Mauritius, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Republic of Congo, Guinea Bissau, Rwanda, Senegal, Zambia, Algeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, Burundi, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, United States of America and Europe.

Objectives of CAJ are seeking to establish a Pan African journalists’ organization to bring together, under one umbrella, journalists of African origin, both conventional and non-conventional, establish greater unity, cooperation, and solidarity, to raise awareness among journalists and media professionals in Africa through education of the importance of ethics, human rights, and good governance in the exercise of journalism and the administration of news media and promote and encourage interaction between journalists in all its forms on the value of informed, ethical journalism in Africa CAJ also advance the education, skills, and competence of people engaged in all forms of journalistic work at all levels of media and across all platforms (New Media/Social Media and the conventional media) of media throughout Africa and the rest of the world.

It also seeks to promote the dignity and honor for the status of journalism by enhancing levels of skill and knowledge of ethical principles within media, particularly through training and education of journalists, media managers, and owners, and appraise critically, current ethical challenges and governance issues affecting journalists and their work, seek to resolve these issues through information sharing; country missions; targeted research; and distribution of reports and materials on matters of contemporary concern to journalists and media professionals which will be freely available to all.

The organization seeks to promote unbiased investigative and interpretative journalism, elimination of hate speech, and fake news, and eliminate any form of government or external influence on journalists and journalism, by monitoring members to promote best practices or advocate for improvement concerning coverage of the African community and Africans in the Diaspora.

Its core activity is to promote and encourage good leadership and governance in African countries through awards and recognitions and also honors journalism excellence and outstanding achievement, seeking to serve as a platform for credible news and information dissemination in the African continent and to issue globally, acceptable and recognized press card for journalists.

Composition of Membership and Membership Eligibility

Membership of CAJ is by registration with a specified amount payable by the applicant into the accredited bank account(s) or recommended officers of the organization. CAJ membership is composed of journalists, journalism educators, media owners, students pursuing a career in journalism, mass communication, media-related courses, and people or entities that support the organization’s vision and goals. To be eligible for office in the organization, a candidate must be a member who has been duly registered and fulfilled payments of CAJ dues with evidence of payments as at when due and must have proven to abide by the constitution of CAJ.

Categories of CAJ membership

(1). Lifetime Members. CAJ founders, Members of the Board of Trustees, and past CAJ presidents NOT REMOVED FROM OFFICE are automatic Lifetime members. (2). Professional Members: Professional membership is open to any person whose principal livelihood comes from creating, producing, or supervising the creation of journalism and related media activities. 

(3). Affiliate Members: Affiliate membership is opened to unions and associations of journalists in Africa, journalists of African origin organizations in the Diaspora, including organizations that trade in any form of media-related activities. 

(4). Academic Members. Academic membership is open to college and university faculty and other academic professionals, including administrators and trainers, with research and or teaching interests in journalism. 

(5). Veteran Members: Veteran membership is open to anyone who has been in the practice of journalism and media professionals for not less than 25 years. 

(6). Student Members. Student membership is open to students of the Institute of Journalism, college or university students including undergraduate, graduate, and associate degree students, who have demonstrated interest in journalism and media-related courses and training. 

(7). Honorary membership: The board of trustees of CAJ has the authority to nominate and accept into its membership, individuals of any endeavor, within and outside Africa, whose actions and activities support its mandates as honourary members though without voting right. 

(8). Fellowship Membership: Fellows of Congress of African Journalists shall be an honor bestowed on the best in the profession by election at the Board of Trustees in a meeting. The membership is in recognition of distinguished contributions to the journalism profession.

CAJ publishes its international magazine, contributed by members in Africa and the diaspora. It also hosts voices from other continents, especially in culture, with a belief that its mission is to unite voices together to serve its global role.

Michael Adeboboye: CAJ International President (top left), Ashraf Aboul-Yazid Dali: CAJ Vice President, North African Region (top right), Sabiiti Daniel: CAJ Vice President, East African Region (Middle left), Admire M. Kudita: CAJ Vice President, Southern Africa (Middle), Mobolaji VP, Habibah: CAJ Diaspora (Middle right), Emmanuela Maikem: CAJ, Vice President, Central African Region (bottom left), Dela Ahiawor: CAJ Vice President, West African Region (bottom middle) and Ajong M. Lauren: CAJ Diaspora (bottom right)
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