Network analysis (2016 & 2021)

In 2014 and 2015 a network analysis found that members of GFMD were quite selective with their communicative relationships to other members and many of those relationships were among members in the Global North.

This analysis was presented at the 2016 World Forum for Media Development in Jakarta by Adam. J. Saffer, Ph.D.

A further network analysis was conducted in the Spring of 2021.

The 2021 report compared the results from the earlier network analysis as well as additional items that were included to assess members engagement behaviours.

Engagement Survey & Network Analysis 2021 - Key findings

The analysis includes a topline analysis of the results members’ background and engagement in GFMD as well as the network analysis of the members.

The evaluation of engagement focused on respondents’ engagement behaviours within the sector and with the GFMD specifically.


Members are loyal to GFMD and see a strong value in their organisation’s work.

The top three reasons members participate in GFMD were for information and knowledge exchange, policy and decision making support, and to build networks.

The #MediaDev Insider Newsletter, GFMD website, and mailing lists are by far the most used resources.

Other resources that respondents indicated using were GFMD social media, conference sessions organised by GFMD, and GFMD working groups and joint initiatives.

Network analysis

Overall, the connectedness of the GFMD network has improved since the previous network analysis. It appears that members are forging connections with each other and in such a way that the connections are distributed somewhat equally rather than concentrating around a select few organisations.

Yet, when looking at the Global North/South divide, we see that the connections are still dominated by the North.

Sector issues

The three most challenging issues identified include:

  • issues with securing funding

  • working in environments hostile to independent journalism

  • and having an inability to diversify revenue

In terms of categories of issues, sustainability was by far the most challenging issue that respondents believe the sector faces.

Other notable challenges facing the sector include inadequate support and funding for the Global South and developing economies, top-down approaches to setting the sector’s agenda, and insufficient resources and time to dedicate to organisational management and business management skills development.

On a positive note, respondents indicated that the least challenging issues of those listed were “difficulties with producing evidence of success and effectiveness.”

Sector influence

GFMD was regularly listed in the top three influential organisations in the sector by our members.*

*While, it should be taken into account that this was a survey by GFMD of our own members, it should also be noted that GFMD’s turnover is a fraction of Unesco or Internews (the next most commonly listed organisations), nor is GFMD a funding or sub granting organisation like this other most listed organisations.

Conference Attendance

GFMD’s World Forum was:

Among the top three conferences attended.

The most desired conference to attend.

Rated the second most valuable conference attended by members after Unesco’s World Press Freedom Day.

Barriers to Collaboration

The top three barriers to collaboration:

  • “Lack of resources, financial backing, and staff needed to maintain collaborative projects and relationships”

  • “Lack of felt need to collaborate”

  • “Perceived competition for current or future funding".

Methodology and qualifications

A total of 87 usable survey responses were returned from representatives of 48 organisations (members and associates). This produced a response rate among members of 45.28%. Such response rate falls below the necessary 70% to make valid claims about the state of the network.

Nonetheless, the structural data are reported below with the caveat that the findings come from less than half of GFMD members. It is possible that, if the response rate were higher, different results and conclusions could be drawn.

GFMD Strategy Process

All feedback and suggestions have been incorporated into GFMD’s strategic planning process to inform the 2021 General Assembly.

Strategy & Business Planning

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