About the


Goals & achievements

GFMD has the following aims

• To provide an international forum for the discussion of ideas, information and strategies in the field of jouralism and media development and to facilitate communication between and among GFMD members, through the support of the GFMD international secretariat.
• To create a platform for journalism support and media development practitioners to interact with donors, governments, opinion leaders and the wider public making the case for media development as a primary pillar for advancing social, economic and political development.
• To promote and disseminate research and analysis on the impact of media development assistance on governance, civic participation, poverty alleviation, emergent crises and markets worldwide.
• To promote the establishment of common standards and ethics for media development work that encourages cross-sector cooperation.
• To advance best practice methods in the media development sector through shared.

This is achieved through:

The Global Forum for Media Development as a knowledge platform for the global media development community. We showcase best practices and  examples of journalism support and media development; we promote and disseminate research and analysis give examples on public access to information; and consumption patterns; and we document how high-quality news and media impact governance, civic participation, poverty alleviation, conflict and fragile societies, and economic well-being worldwide.

GFMD leverages expertise that exists within the media development sector to provide the most current and practical knowledge and experience to its members and community. Through GFMD web pages, Facebook groups, Mediadev Insider newsletter and LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, members are able to share real life, relevant examples of their failures, successes and learning.

GFMD aims to be the largest provider of funding information, business development and support services for journalism support and global media development. (text box)

The Global Forum for Media Development as a cooperation network working to make the $500 million+ journalism support and media development industry achieve more, for more people. We improve our field by encouraging and developing systems to avoid duplication, increase strategic priorities and highlight important trends and initiatives in key countries. We raise the profile and capacity of media journalism support and development groups in countries where press freedom is most constrained. We work with media development organisations to strengthen the capacity and networks of journalists, media and their representative institutions. We act together to increase strategic coherence and foster collaboration, connection and community among free expression and media assistance, including tech or digital development actors. We assist funders in strengthening the strategic effectiveness of their media development grant making.

GFMD members are leading conversation that is shaping the future of the media development. The media development sector is changing rapidly in line with new media models and the challenges that they bring. GFMD is at the forefront of the multi-stakeholder dialogue for ensuring freedom of expression and access to information in the new communication era. We address political, social and structural constraints to media freedom through peer-led advocacy. We advocate for increased understanding, recognition and importance of journalism support and media development within international corporate, donor, and intergovernmental and philanthropic communities.

The GFMD is currently working with its members on enhancing the level of sharing and exchange already going within the network. In 2017 GFMD has launched issue-based working groups that bring practitioners and researchers together concentrating on following areas of cooperation:  

  • Media development research and advocacy with a special focus on Internet governance and new media;
  • Media development actors in conflict and post-conflict countries;
  • Journalism initiatives with a special focus on journalism safety and investigative journalism;
  • Diversity, youth and gender media development initiatives;
  • Sustainable Development Goals and related initiatives.

GFMD achievements 2013-2017

  • GFMD had planned and organised the World Forum event which took place in Jakarta between September 20 and 22, 2016. Entitled “Decoding the Future: Rethinking Media for a New World”, the Forum set out to share best practice, new technologies and practical research as well as to seek solutions for common challenges faced by the media development community.  The event was attended by 220 international delegates and more than 100 Indonesian delegates - a very strong turnout which included representatives from all key media development agencies worldwide.

  • Drawing on the input of more than 50 Syrian professionals and international media development organizations, the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) releases a comprehensive set of recommendations for donors, implementers, and Syrian media, summarized in the paper: “A Call for Effective Support to Syrian Independent Media as a Key Component in Mitigating and Resolving the Syrian Conflict".

  • GFMD has introduced improved tools for delivering webinars, disseminating newsletters, sharing information and organising distribution lists.

  • As part of its research and advocacy activities on aid effectiveness in media assistance, GFMD has organised and taken part in a series of workshops and events, to share perspectives from multiple stakeholders and identify trends around funding going to strategic communication activities versus funding going to media assistance.

  • 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.