As journalists prepare for covering next week’s inauguration, amid reports by the FBI of myriad threats, they deserve recognition for the essential service they provide our communities every day. For the past four years, the media has been repeatedly under attack in the U.S., being called “fake news” and “enemy of the people” by the president and his supporters. Disinformation has proliferated on the internet. Truth is under attack. Last week’s violent assault on the U.S. Capitol displayed how fragile our democracy is—it also showed how resolute our fellow journalists are in working to preserve it, despite threats and physical assaults. We all should be grateful that they were there and committed to bringing us the unfolding story as it happened.

GBH and WORLD Channel were proud to broadcast PBS NewsHour’s real-time all-day coverage led by Judy Woodruff, Lisa Desjardins, Amna Nawaz and Yamiche Alcindor. All year long—and today as impeachment proceedings begin for a second time—my GBH News colleagues and our counterparts at NPR are providing daily coverage and context.

Our investigative series FRONTLINE has also been at the forefront. On January 26, we’ll present a timely new program, Trump’s American Carnage that examines how the president stoked the division and violence that led to last week’s events.

Sadly, press freedom is under assault around the world. A record number of journalists (274) were imprisoned because of their work in 2020, as governments clamped down on news coverage of civil unrest and the coronavirus pandemic, the Committee to Protect Journalists found in its latest annual census. Last Friday, FRONTLINE premiered its new documentary film,
A Thousand Cuts, about Maria Ressa, the brave journalist in the Philippines documenting, at great personal risk, the human rights abuses of President Rodrigo Duterte. There are nine pending charges against her. What keeps her going? Telling truth and ultimately saving democracy before a thousand “cuts” kill it.

The insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 was an attack on so much of what we hold dear: human life, decency, truth and democracy. GBH condemns the riots and the lies that inspired them, as well as the hate groups who participated.

Never in our lifetimes has our democracy felt so fragile and our social fabric so frayed. The media is essential to enabling our democracy. Public media’s mission-based work to educate, as well as to foster an engaged and informed citizenry, has never been more needed or more challenging. GBH News and our fellow journalists are proud to serve.

Watch FRONTLINE: A Thousand Cuts here
Watch PBS NewsHour: Witness to the Siege