Welcome to GFMD IMPACT

GFMD IMPACT - the International Media Policy and Advisory Centre - is an initiative of the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD).

Our vision

Independent journalism is an integral part of functioning democratic societies.

Journalists improve people's lives through access to information, data and new perspectives. In doing so, they support transparency, accountability, human rights, community development, diversity, inclusion and open societies. They actively contribute, therefore, to the enabling environment that allows policymakers and philanthropists to advance their missions.

However, the media sector across the world is under threat and undergoing radical reorganisation. News organisations are being co-opted by authoritarian governments, being streamlined and sold-off. Many are taking risks pivoting towards new revenue streams amid the collapse of business models, strong dependency on platforms and tech companies, as well as the loss of trust and authority with their audiences.

As a result, independent journalism is facing an extinction event in many parts of the world.

The Global Forum for Media Development´s (GFMD) mission is to assist the creation of a strong, independent, and pluralistic media environment by facilitating effective and impactful collaboration, knowledge-exchange and advocacy among members of the media development and journalism support sector. We believe that international donors (private and public) are playing an increasingly important role in this by directly supporting the work of the media and newsrooms. They are critical for the survival of independent media and everything it contributes to society.

But there are challenges facing donors and philanthropists attempting to do this work:

There is a general lack of donor understanding of how the media works on the ground.

Existing opportunities for networking and exchange of experience with fellow donors, but also with journalism organisations and academia remain inadequate.

There is a lack of dedicated donor strategies focused on the media development and journalism support sector.

The international assistance to the media remains a small fraction of a percent of total aid: just 0.3 percent of total official development assistance on average in recent years.

The sector’s needs and donor priorities are too often not aligned.

More data, evidence, literature reviews, diagnostics, and M&E are required for donors, policymakers, practitioners, and researchers to truly understand the issues at hand and to find appropriate solutions.

Donors want data and in-depth information on media landscapes and markets, existing media funding (financial and thematic) and impacts according to an agreed standard, which currently does not exist.

Why is GFMD IMPACT needed?

"It is critical to deal with the relationship between donors and practitioners, as well as the knowledge and information that they accumulate during the course of their work. We must share knowledge and learn about what works and what doesn't, as well as catalog that knowledge, in order to achieve better results and articulate those results. The GFMD IMPACT project aims to address these critical sector questions."Mark Nelson, Director, Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA)

“SDC supports the GFMD IMPACT project because the media development and journalism support sector requires a better long-term mechanism for exchanging evidence about what works and formulate policy guidance in order to respond effectively to this rapidly changing and challenging field. The Global Forum for Media Development, we believe, is best positioned to address these issues on a global scale.”Melina Papageorgiou, Governance Advisor, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

"GFMD IMPACT is providing a much needed space for dialogue, critical reflection and community building for the media development sector. The IAMCR Media Sector Development Working Group is grateful for our partnership with GFMD IMPACT. Especially during the pandemic time period, GFMD has come up with great events, kept the lines of communication going and fostered a sense of direction by providing servant leadership that's contributed to the growth and well-being of its members." - Susan Abbott, Co-Chair, Media Sector Development Working Group at IAMCR

The scope of the problem we address is vast

To address these issues, GFMD established the International Media Policy and Advisory Centre (IMPACT), which brings together key media development and journalism support stakeholders to ensure more effective (demand-driven & coordinated) and impactful (contextually tailored & oriented toward long-term, strategic goals) sector support.

The initiative officially launched in 2020 with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, National Endowment for Democracy, Open Society Foundations and UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

We want to build on the momentum and impact of this initiative into 2022 and beyond.

Here’s how.

Our goals

Our programme provides donors, funders, policy-makers and practitioners with the necessary groundwork needed to make informed, evidence-based decisions about media development and journalism support strategies, programming, funding, and advocacy by:

leveraging expertise and maximising the effectiveness of funding to address the global crises facing media across the world.

enabling local organisations direct participation in decision-making processes and conversations.

providing insights as well as a variety of tools and resources to inform strategy, programme, and project design, as well as implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.

improving overall media assistance planning through dedicated research and learning activities (building an evidence base to help promote understanding of the sector and demonstrate the impact of support).

building networks across civil society, academia, and the private sector in order to gain insights into what works, what doesn't and what shows promise, and,

ensuring that audiences – communities and citizens – remain key to the focus of assistance efforts.

We do it this way

Facilitating meetings of donors, practitioners and academia to enable knowledge sharing, experience exchange, learning and collaboration.

Commissioning research, publishing findings and curating the most relevant resources for the sector.

Managing a Help Desk, which uses GFMD's network of experts and resources to respond to donor requests in a timely manner.

Learning meetings

GFMD IMPACT learning meetings facilitate regular communication, knowledge sharing and experience exchange between donors, practitioners, academics and other key stakeholders.

Meetings so far include:

Detailed literature reviews and meeting reports are prepared for each meeting.

Policy and learning meetings

Over the course of 2021 GFMD IMPACT is also convening a series of policy and learning meetings for GFMD members (and invited guests from the donor, funder and academic communities) to analyse significant media development and journalism support issues and topics.

If you would like to participate in or propose topics for GFMD policy and learning meetings please contact projects@gfmd.info.

Help desk

GFMD IMPACT has established a Help Desk, which uses a network of experts and resources brought together by GFMD to respond in a timely fashion to requests from donors, practitioners and policy makers.

Help desk

Email helpdesk-impact@gfmd.info for more information and to submit a request.

Resource centre

The help desk and GFMD IMPACT meetings are supported by our resource centre which collates literature reviews ahead of events, detailed reports from meetings, as well as research and policy papers authored or commissioned by GFMD IMPACT.


For more information about GFMD IMPACT see our about and FAQs page.


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