How do you protect against “fake news”? How do you avoid slander? How much support does WGBH get from the federal government? Does the government try to influence how you cover the news?

These were some of the questions on the minds of military leaders from 55 countries who visited WGBH as part of a year-long leadership program at the Naval Command College in Rhode Island.

Fielding the questions were Jeanne Hopkins, vice president for communications and government relations; Andrea Crossan, executive producer of PRI’s The World radio; Kara Miller, host and executive editor of WGBH Radio’s Innovation Hub, and Christopher Hastings, executive producer of WORLD Channel. WGBH frequently welcomes diverse local and national groups into the Boston headquarters to give the public access to the workings of public media.

The 58 Naval Command College students—all military officers—hail from Bangladesh, Lebanon, Ecuador, Egypt, Nigeria and beyond. Graduates include ministers of defense, ambassadors and heads of state. The program—part cultural exchange and part academics—operates under the auspices of the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, RI. Course offerings focus on joint military operations, national security decision making, strategy and leadership.

“A lot of our participants come from places where public media is national media, which is different. This is unique and interesting for them to learn about the public good aspect,” says Kevin McGowan, Captain United States Navy and director of the program.

Government funding and the threat of interference were hot topics.

Half of WGBH’s operating budget comes from public support, said Hopkins, noting that WGBH receives just 11 percent of its funds from the federal government. A “firewall” stands between WGBH programming and funders, she said.

“If the government thinks we are doing a great job, we’re doing our job wrong,” noted Crossan. “No guest gets questions ahead of time. No one can exert influence on the programs,” she added.

“The responsibility we have is to make sure we are always fair,” said Hastings. “If we’re going to use the pen, it is to tell the truth, never to slander a person’s personal brand.”

Miller noted that given the reliance on social media these days to get information,“fake news” often is information delivered out of context. Her team tries to “pull the lens back” and discover the back story or context of news.

This was the second year the NCC has included WGBH on its field visit itinerary, which includes trips to New York City, San Diego and Washington, DC.

For Capt. McGowan, WGBH is familiar territory.

“I grew up in Boston. I learned to read with Sesame Street,” he says. “I’m extremely familiar with WGBH content, and I know that it adds value.”