About the


Goals & achievements

GFMD goals 2013 – 2015


  • Raising standards, reputation and impact: Elevate the professional standards, effectiveness and status of media development as a field by sharing best practices; highlighting impact; and providing forums for discussion and debate on important issues in our field. The key way to achieve these goals is through the GFMD’s biannual World Forum conference.

  • Making media development an international priority: Advocate for the increased understanding, recognition and importance of media development within international donor and development communities.

  • Enhancing coordination: Improve our field by encouraging and developing systems to avoid duplication, increase donor attention to strategic needs and gaps in support, and highlight important initiatives in key countries.

  • Building visibility, influence and capacity of local media development players: Raise the profile and capacity of media development groups in countries where press freedom is most constrained.

Read our 2013 - 2015 Multi year work plan

GFMD mid-term achievements 2013-2014


  • The GFMD has taken the lead in forming a global coalition of 200 NGOs and Article 19 to campaign for the inclusion of free media and access to information in the global development agenda of the United Nations. More information.

  • The GFMD has produced an advocacy toolkit for local NGOs to lobby governments and the public about how media matters in development. The toolkit contains a three-minute video that has been shared with hundreds of GFMD members and other local civil society groups. It is in Arabic, French and English and will soon be available in Russian and Spanish. Watch the video about the toolkit.

  • Together with Deutsche Welle Akademie, the GFMD organised in February 2014 the first meeting on media development for the European Parliament Development Committee. This meeting allowed our members to share the impact of their work promoting independent media in developing countries. See GFMD at the European Parliament for a dialogue on media, development and the post-2015 agenda.

  • The GFMD has held consultations with hundreds of civil society groups for the production of the European Guidelines on Freedom of Expression. The European Union has consulted extensively with the GFMD since the very early stages of this key document, which now serves as a practical guide for the embassies of 28 member states and all EU delegations on how to address freedom of expression violations and how to support free media in developing countries. As a result of this work by the GFMD, the views of dozens of NGOs, associations and media/human rights law experts have been incorporated into this guide. This ensures that local civil society and media workers facing difficulties in many countries have better tools and allies within the EU should they face harassment.

  • The GFMD is building bridges among a wide range of media assistance, press freedom, digital rights and other organizations to avoid duplication and encourage collaboration. Such silos have impeded aid effectiveness in the past.

  • The GFMD actively works with UNESCO to include targets on freedom of expression and access to information on the post-2015 global development agenda. As part of these collaborations, the GFMD assisted UNESCO with preparations for the World Press Freedom Day, and together we proposed specific language and indicators about freedom of expression and access to information to the UN Open Working Group. GFMD members contributed as well to the production of the UNESCO report about World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development.

  • The GFMD has brought together a working group with the support of UNESCO, the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) and Article19 to develop measurable targets and indicators for access to information, freedom of expression and media development in the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The group, an alliance of a wide range of groups including the Committee to Protect Journalists, BBC Media Action, Internews, IREX, the World Wide Web Foundation, Civicus and UNESCO, agreed on a common approach. The UNESCO conference urged the United Nations to include freedom of expression in post-2015 development goals.

  • The GFMD became a go-to partner of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on aid effectiveness. See article: The Common Battle: Human Rights, Good Governance and Freedom of Expression.

  • Since 2013, the GFMD has successfully organised the coordination of media assistance in Syria.

GFMD World Forum Activity Report 2012-2016


Policy Engagement with Multilateral actors

Govnet and OECD:
GFMD engaged with governments that shape development policy and funding strategies and fed, jointly with BBC-MA, DW-Akademie and CIMA the OECD-Govnet group on the role of media in transparency and accountability at the Global Partnership on Aid Effectiveness. Efforts to engage multilateral actors are ongoing and led for example to the November 2015 Summit for Latin America on Media Development needs, co-hosted by the Freedom of Expression Rapporteur for the OAS, UNESCO, FNPI, DW-Akademie, CIMA and GFMD.

Post 2015 development agenda:
GFMD has been making the case at the UN level and gathered amazing energy around the need for a governance goal inclusive of the role of independent media, access to information and freedom of expression in the 2015-2030 Sustainable Development Goals. GFMD developed communications material and an advocacy toolkit to empower local organizations in the Global South to lobby their governments. After the first stages, GFMD UN representative Bill Orme lobbied hard and worked with other stakeholders (Members such as Article 19 and non-Members such as IFLA and DI) to make access to information a global Development Goal. As part of this agenda both in 2014 and 2015 forum meetings were organised in Sub Saharan Africa. In September 2015 the UNGA approved the SDGs and the inclusion of target 16.10 to “ensure public access to information and respect of fundamental freedoms. This is the biggest success of GFMD policy efforts to date that will benefit all members in the coming 15 years. With the help of our UN representative Bill  Orme, the GFMD continues to pursue advocacy more specifically on indicators, with UNGA members, UNESCO and other UN bodies, in cooperation with other civil society groups, in particular Article 19.

Media policy and advocacy
EU Freedom of Expression Guidelines: The first quarter GFMD has maintained its position as a referent for the European Union on media assistance and freedom of information activities. The secretariat organized the first EU Parliament session on media and development on 17 February with GFMD members as speakers. GFMD also provided extensive feedback and wording for the EU freedom of Expression guidelines. Currently efforts are ongoing to monitor the implementation of the Freedom of Expression Guidelines but there is no formalised process for this yet.

Countering violent extremism:
Witnessing the increase of violent extremism in the world, many people are looking towards media as part of the problem and part of the solution. GFMD has pro-actively organised a workshop of international members who are actively pursued by donors and policy makers to engage in the terrain. The expectancy of GFMD is that this terrain will become an important debate topic for all stakeholders in the field. GFMD intends to foster this debate by developing a shared understanding among GFMD members, academics and Civil Society think tanks, map the terrain, collect and debate evidence and serve and protect the interests of journalism assistance and media groups active in the world's conflict zones.

Eurasia Forum, Kiev, September 2015:
Organised in partnership with GFMD Member the Independent Association of Broadcasters in Kiev, with the support of OSF and Free Press Unlimited. This conference identified the need for political action on the shrinking space for Freedom of Expression and Civil Society in the world of the Russian Language world. GFMD was an active participant in the Study conducted by the European Endowment for Democracy that identified possible remedies for the problems related to the lack press freedom and lack of pluralism. Reporter Safety and Press Freedom: GFMD worked hand in hand with UNESCO on the content and speakers of the WPFD 2014, 2015 and 2016. The final statement in 2015 was vastly inspired by our work on the post 2015 development agenda in which Reporter Safety is an inherent and integrated criterion. GFMD will continue to work hand in hand with advocacy groups like CPJ, RSF, FH, IFJ and others in specific cases where GFMD can play a convening and aggregating role for the engagement of its members in the regions towards policy development and monitoring of Reporter Safety as well as the protection of Human Rights Defenders and Digital Freedoms.

Coordination & Research Projects

Syria coordination:
In 2013, GFMD started an international coordination meeting on media development efforts in Syria initiated and in cooperation with I-M-S, Free Press Unlimited and IREX. The first working conference identified gaps and needs in support to media in Syria. The efforts around Syria led to the production of a GFMD White Paper for Syrian Media Assistance. Also several international organisations have combined efforts around audience research that led to a media landscape survey in 2016. Cooperation at the level of individual members of the group resulted in the coordinated emergency support efforts of the Syria Response Group and several joint media development initiatives.

Other coordination efforts:
Since the success of the Syria Coordination, other organisations have actively sought GFMD as a partner for coordination, most notable the media groups gathered around the electoral conflict in Burundi and the assistance efforts requested by Yemen media actors. On Yemen the IFJ and GFMD co-organized a public solidarity meeting for Yemeni media in Brussels that was attended by IMS, IFJ, GFMD, DW-Akademie, UNESCO, BBC Media Action, UNDP, UN coordination office, Minister of Information of Yemen, MICT Berlin, Community Media Solutions and the Norwegian Union of Journalists. A consultation co-organised by UNESCO, IFJ and GFMD with international organisations and Yemeni stakeholders took place in Spring 2016 in Jordan to produce an action plan for Journalists in Yemen.

Research and studies:
GFMD was part of a consortium studying Internet censorship in relation to human rights for the European Commission (ECSA). The study advised the EC on investments into the field of Human Rights and Digital Technology. GFMD also became part of the INFOCORE consortium that is studying media in conflict. The studies enabled GFMD to be part of new networks where research and study of relevant subjects takes place. It should be noted that monetary rewards for this work are very limited.