Advisory, consultative and observer status

United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

GFMD has held special consultative status by ECOSOC since July 2018.

This means that members of GFMD can access and contribute to ECOSOC meetings in New York City and Geneva, as well as organise side events while the council is sitting.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

GFMD has held observer status at UNESCO, since June 2022.

The GFMD Secretariat and GFMD members use this status to attend and participate in Unesco meetings including the Council of the International Programme on the Development of Communication (IPDC).

United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

GFMD has served as the secretariat of the Dynamic Coalition on the Sustainability of Journalism and News Media, an officially recognised Dynamic Coalition within the United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF) since November 2019.

Media Freedom Coalition – Consultative Network (MFC-CN)

GFMD has been a member of the Consultative Network of the Media Freedom Coalition, since September 2023.

The MFC-CN is a group of national, regional and international organisations that in collaboration with a much broader set of civil society groups, voluntarily provides advice to the MFC on the Coalition’s work.

The GFMD Secretariat uses our membership of the MFC’s Consultative Network to:

  • To present cases to the MFC for action – both cases of concern in countries where media freedom is at particular risk and cases of individual journalists or media outlets under threat. This includes sharing information on the situation and providing recommendations on what the MFC can do to address it;
  • To offer advice on present and future issues within media freedom and media development, including speaking at MFC events, and channelling suggestions from CSOs, media, journalists’ associations, and others to inform the MFC membership;
  • To monitor the work of the coalition and provide inputs on the day-to-day and strategic work of the MFC.

European Commission 

GFMD is a civil society co-lead of Working Group 3: Media and Digital of the Team Europe Democracy (TED) Initiative.

At the global level, the TED Network will improve the coordination of EU institutions, Member State representatives, and their implementing agencies as well as promote discussion with civil society organisations and networks, think tanks, research centres and universities based in Europe that are engaged in promoting democracy and human rights worldwide.

The TED Initiative has three main pillars: 1) Research on democracy support best practices and policies 2) TED Network (global level) 3) Providing expertise at the country level.

The TED Initiative (September 2022 to June 2027) aims to create a coordinated strategic European response in support of democracy. It forms one part of the Team Europe Initiative (TEI), an initiative of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA), which focuses on “identifying critical priorities that constrain development in a given country or region, where a coordinated and coherent effort by ‘Team Europe’ would ensure results with a transformative impact.”

Christchurch Call Advisory Network

GFMD is a member of the Christchurch Call Advisory Network, which is a part of the wider Christchurch Call Community. Its members represent perspectives including human rights, freedom of expression, digital rights, counter-radicalisation, victim support, and public policy. membership has been drawn from interested civil society groups, who represent a range of perspectives, including human rights, freedom of expression, digital rights, counter-radicalization, victim support and public policy. 

Partnerships with donors and policymakers

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC

GFMD, in cooperation with the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA), played a leading role in the OECD DAC’s Network on Governance (GovNet) adopting Development Cooperation Principles on Relevant and Effective Support to Media and the Information Environment. The adoption was the culmination of over two years of consultations among bilateral donor agencies, implementing organisations, civil society representatives, and media development experts.

Journalism Funders Forum (JFF) and Media Impact Funders (MIF)

GFMD works with communities of philanthropic organisations that are supporting media and journalism such as JFF and MIF to provide briefings to funders of journalism and collaborate on building the evidence base for the sector.


GFMD is a member of the following networks and membership organisations:

Coalitions, forums and initiatives

Forum on Information and Democracy: The Forum on Information and Democracy is a non-profit entity led by civil society organisations and mandated to implement democratic principles from the International Partnership on Information and Democracy.

International Civil Society Organization on the Safety of Journalists Coalition: The ICSO SoJ Coalition is made up of 17 international and regional civil society organizations and aims to strengthen coordination to promote the safety of journalists and fight against impunity.

Hold the Line Coalition: #HoldTheLine is an international coalition that has come together in support of Maria Ressa. It consists of more than 80 groups led by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Defenders in Development Coalition: The Defenders in Development Coalition engages in capacity building and collective action to ensure that communities and marginalized groups have the information, resources, protection and power to shape, participate in, or oppose development activities, and to hold development financiers, governments and companies accountable.

Design 4 Democracy Coalition: The Design 4 Democracy serves as a coordination mechanism between groups of democracy and human rights organizations around the world that are working at the forefront of technology and democracy issues.

Research & academic institutions

GFMD has several research and academic partnerships including:


The Global Forum for Media Development is funded by our members and through the core and programmatic funding from public and private donors.

Membership fees: The GFMD is financially supported by fees from our members. Membership fees make up roughly one-third of GFMD’s income. Membership fees are set depending on the staffing numbers of each organisation.

Core funders 2024:

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED): NED is a private, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world.

The Open Society Foundations (OSF): Founded by George Soros, OSF are the world’s largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights.

Programmatic funders 2024:

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) — Switzerland’s international cooperation agency within the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) — has supported GFMD’s International Media Policy and Advisory Centre (GFMD IMPACT) since 2021.

Via BBC Media Action’s three-year Protecting Independent Media For Effective Development (PRIMED) programme, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has also supported GFMD IMPACT since 2021.

Open Society Foundations (OSF) has supported GFMD’s Tech and Journalism Crisis and Emergency Mechanism (T&JM) since its launch in 2023. The mechanism serves as an escalation channel for journalism organisations to engage with tech platforms to address and resolve account-related incidents and moderation issues.

Core funders 2005 – 2023 


Programmatic funders 2005 – 2023

International Media Support (IMS)

  • After the Beirut port explosion of August 2020, IMS funded GFMD’s role in an information-sharing effort inviting the international and local media development and journalism support organisations to coordinate recovery and assistance efforts in Lebanon. The project, which included setting up a multi-donor emergency fund, ran from 2020 to 2021 and was led by the SKeyes Centre for Media and Cultural Freedom.
  • IMS also supported the GFMD IMPACT’s 2022 report Coordinating Media Assistance and Journalism Support Efforts analyses the scope and focus of media assistance coordination efforts, highlighting common pitfalls as well as best practice models.

DW Akademie supported GFMD to organise an afternoon of sessions on media viability at the Summit for Democracy in The Hague in March 2023.

Unesco’s International Programme on the Development of Communication supported three consultations on media viability in Lebanon, Namibia, and Tunisia which resulted in the June 2023 GFMD IMPACT report Media Viabilty: The global versus the local.


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