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Media Freedom Cohort of the Summit for Democracy

Status: Closed

Organisation: Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD)

Deadline: 24/02/2023

Location: Online

GFMD invites you to become part with the Media Freedom Cohort of the second Summit for Democracy.

The Media Freedom Cohort is a multi-stakeholder platform which aims to bring together civil society actors, media, private sector leaders, philanthropic partners, academics, and government decision-makers, with a shared commitment to making concrete progress in improving media freedom.


Deadline: 24 February 2023

Aim: For members of the Cohort to publicly commit to funding, funding models, industry standards, public policies, and other initiatives that will help media outlets survive and thrive in the coming decades.

Criteria: We are striving for commitments that are measurable, replicable, and achievable, believing that these commitments will best allow for systemic change.

Commitments can be submitted using this form.


As well as gathering commitments, the other role of the Cohort is to gather:

1- Evidence on best practices and lessons learned regarding how governments and other stakeholders can improve media freedom and “Bolster Independent and Diverse Media” at home and abroad.

2- Multistakeholder, participatory, and demonstrably effective projects and initiatives that are scalable and have the potential to bring about systemic change.


Based on the Commitments, evidence and initiatives that are gathered, the working group co-leads will produce a report that will be published by the Cohort ahead of the Summit and fed into the Summit’s processes wherever possible.

GFMD is planning to promote the work of the Cohort at the following events:

28 Feb – 1 March: Global Democracy Coalition Forum – Brussels. (Details will be published on the Global Democracy Coalition website shortly. Contact the Forum if you want to participate and for more information)

27 March – Civil Society Forum organised by the Global Democracy Coalition – The Hague (Details will be published on this page as soon as we have them. Contact the Forum if you want to participate and for more information)

30 March – Summit for Democracy regional meeting hosted by the government of the Netherlands focusing on Media Freedom – The Hague (Details will be published on this page shortly)


Civil society lead: Internews

We know that media, the business community, philanthropy, government, and civil society all have unique roles in supporting and advancing media freedom. Our goal with the cohort is simple – we are calling on leaders from each of these communities to make new measurable and systemic commitments to advance media freedom. These commitments could be in the form of investment or budget pledges, policy reform, or internal process reform. This is a “big-tent” approach, with plenty of flexibility to advance diverse, but impactful actions across many sectors. – Jeanne Bourgault, President, Internews

Government leads: Canada and the Netherlands (the current co-chairs of the Media Freedom Coalition)

Based on the media freedom pledges made at the first summit, the Media Freedom Cohort’s work has been divided into three priority areas:

Working Group 1 – Protecting Journalists’ Safety & Security: Digital, physical, and psycho-social safety measures, insurance, and legal assistance, designed to protect journalists and other media workers.

Civil society leads: the ACOS Alliance and IFEX.

Working Group 2 – Advancing Freedom of Expression: Legal and regulatory reforms that protect freedom of expression, as enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Civil society lead: the High-Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom.

Working Group 3 – Bolstering Independent and Diverse Media: Building funding models, industry standards and public policies that support the resilience and professional capacities of media outlets to survive and thrive in the coming decades.

Civil society lead: the Global Forum on Media Development (GFMD).

Government leads: USAID and UK FCDO (in their capacity and co-chairs of the media Freedom Coalition’s Media Development Working Group)


If you are interested in being part of the Media Freedom Cohort, please e-mail media-freedom-cohort@internews.org by indicating the working group you are interested in joining and nominating a contact point for your organization. We will then connect you with the different working group leads.

You can also request to join Working Group 3 by sending an email to mediafreedomcohort-wg3+subscribe@groups.io


What is the Summit for Democracy – In late 2021, US President Biden hosted a Summit for Democracy, at which countries from around the world gathered and pledged concrete actions to advance democracy at home and around the world. The second summit in March 2023 will highlight progress against commitments made in the first summit, as well as new commitments to advance democracy by a wider array of stakeholders.

What is the role of “Democracy Cohorts” – As part of what the summit planners are calling a “Year of Action” various “Democracy Cohorts” are in the process of being set up as multi-stakeholder groups to work on key themes.

GFMD’s role 

As well as facilitating the engagement of our members with the Media Freedom Cohort and track three on “Bolstering Independent and Diverse Media”, GFMD will be using the cohort as an opportunity to continue the work on best practices for supporting journalism and media, more specifically our recent consultations on:

Get in touch!

If you would like more information about or would like to contribute to:

  1. GFMD’s role in Media Freedom Cohort
  2. The process of “Renewing principles on effective support to journalism and media”
  3. The GFMD report on “Coordinating Media Assistance and Journalism Support Efforts”

Please contact Tom Law at tlaw@gfmd.info 

If you are interested in being part of the Media Freedom Cohort, please e-mail media-freedom-cohort@internews.org by indicating the working group you are interested in joining and nominating a contact point for your organisation.

For more engagement opportunities, subscribe to MediaDev Insider newsletter, your guide on how to support journalism and media from the GFMD IMPACT


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