The digital revolution has transformed our world. Never in human history have we been more connected to each other in ways that would have seemed unimaginable only a decade ago. But with the rise of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and a smartphone in virtually every pocket, the internet bullies known as trolls are only ever a click, tap or swipe away. Instead of bringing people together, trolls use the internet to target those they disagree with by provoking, harassing and threatening them. On Monday night Four Corners takes you into the dark side of the internet to explore the rise of cyber trolls. Many trolls go to great lengths to try and hide their identity and as the program explores, psychiatrists believe this is helping to propel the appalling behaviour. One self-proclaimed hardcore troll outlines the trolling landscape and boasts about his extensive conquests, all while hiding behind a cloak of anonymity. And some of the trolls are not who you'd expect. We meet Britain's most notorious troll, jailed for sending threatening tweets, and a campaigner in Canada as he goes on trial after a confrontation on Twitter. The prosecution of trolls raises uncomfortable questions about how far our commitment to freedom of expression goes. Activists are warning of an Orwellian future of thought police.
It was Queensland, the year was 1987, and the state's police force was riddled with corruption. The brotherhood of crooked cops who gave the green light to illegal gambling and prostitution believed they were untouchable. There was a conspiracy of silence, from within the Queensland government and all the way up to the highest levels of the force. The nature and the extent of the corruption sickened the honest cops, who operated in a world where they could trust no-one. A small band of brave crime fighters, and their families, took the enormous risk to trust a journalist with the state's darkest secrets. The result was 'The Moonlight State', perhaps the most explosive true story ever told on Australian television. Chris Masters' landmark report prompted one of the most important anti-corruption investigations in Australian history, the Fitzgerald Inquiry, which led to the jailing of the Queensland police commissioner.
It's a tale of secrets, power and intimidation. China is our most important trading partner, making a strong relationship vital to Australia's national interest. But there are growing concerns about covert Chinese actions taking place on Australian soil. Five months in the making, this joint Four Corners-Fairfax Media investigation uncovers how China's Communist Party is secretly infiltrating Australia. The investigation tracks the activities of Beijing-backed organisations and the efforts made to intimidate opponents of the Chinese Communist Party. And investigates the influence of individuals who have access to political and business leaders. The findings will be released in a series of stories through Fairfax Media and ABC platforms, reported by Fairfax's Nick McKenzie and the ABC's Chris Uhlmann, culminating in the Four Corners broadcast on Monday night, detailing the full revelations.
In the second part of this special investigation into the Lindt Cafe siege, Four Corners goes inside the police operation as it dragged on into the night, and presents a forensic examination of how the disaster unfolded. The families of hostages Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson tell of their experiences during the siege as they watched and waited nearby. They recount their fleeting communications with their loved ones through heartbreaking phone calls and text messages from inside the cafe. In interviews with the surviving hostages, reporter Sarah Ferguson examines the opportunities missed in the course of the siege. And as the Coroner makes his findings, the families left behind reflect on the gruelling 18 months of hearings and the evidence presented during the inquest. In a Four Corners exclusive, the families of Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson will talk to Sarah Ferguson in the days following the inquest findings.
In the first episode in a two-part special investigation into the Lindt Cafe siege, Sarah Ferguson talks exclusively with the families of Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson about their experience on the day and their devastation, anger and frustration in the aftermath of the siege. Surviving hostages recount their terrifying ordeal as they waited, hour after hour, for the police to arrive. The program examines how authorities over several years failed to comprehend the risk posed by hostage taker Man Haron Monis. This special investigation exposes what went wrong and questions whether Australia is prepared for another terror attack.
It was one of the biggest illegal firearms busts in Australian history. A criminal syndicate brazenly smuggling weapons into the country, exposing the failings in the nation's border security. The audacious but simple smuggling conspiracy caught law enforcement off guard and forced a major rethink in how to counteract illegal gun importations. While the smugglers were stopped, the majority of the weapons they brought in have never been recovered, leaving them in the hands of criminals or even would-be terrorists. Through surveillance videos, phone intercepts and interviews with the investigating officers, Four Corners pieces together the smuggling operation and the police sting that eventually stopped them. With the jailing of the group's ringleader, the story of how this group smuggled weapons into the country, fuelling drive by shootings and gang violence, can now be told.
Four Corners investigates how a nation as rich as Australia is in coal, gas, sunshine and wind, has found itself in the middle of an energy crisis. For a decade, the politicisation of energy policy has divided the major political parties and brought down their leaders. The result is an uncertain energy future and soaring power bills. On the eve of the federal budget, the program charts how short-term politics has repeatedly overridden the national interest. Four Corners has travelled across the nation to see how the lack of affordable and reliable power is driving some businesses to the wall, others are going offshore. And with experts forecasting that winter will bring even higher power bills as well as blackouts next summer, there are calls to end the politicking and for real action to be taken.
On Four Corners, Australian sporting champions reveal their struggles to restart their lives after their elite sporting careers have ended. Their accounts are raw, deeply personal and in some cases, shocking. One elite swimmer tells of how she went from being ranked No.1 in the world to the dole. A world class superstar reveals their fight to overcome a dependence on prescription drugs used to numb the pain caused by injury. One former cricket star explains how he went from living the dream life to his current job as a road surfacer. All describe the mental anguish they've been through as they grappled with finding a place in the real world. Former Wallaby Dan Vickerman took his own life in February, devastating those around him. In moving interviews his former teammates reflect on the challenges of life after sport and the painful soul searching they've been through in the months since his death. These elite athletes are urging sporting bodies to do more to prepare sports men and women for life after their careers have ended.
The images of Syrian men, women and children killed in a chemical gas attack in April appalled the world, and led the US to unleash an air strike on the Syrian regime. But as shocking as the use of these weapons is, it was just the latest act of brutality rained down on the citizens of Syria by the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Now, international pressure is rising for Assad and his regime to be held to account for years of atrocities. In a secret location in Europe, war crimes investigators have been building a criminal case against the Syrian regime. Using a cache of more than 600,000 smuggled documents, investigators have been piecing together evidence of what has happened to the thousands of Syrians who have been killed, tortured or "disappeared" at the hands of the Assad government. Investigators have amassed a vast trove of evidence, including thousands of photographs smuggled out by a regime defector. The investigators have also interviewed hundreds of people whose names appear on arrest lists and interrogation notes, along with survivors, former prisoners and family members of Assad's victims, who say they want the perpetrators brought before a court. Now, the war crimes investigators believe they have the evidence needed.
"What's on your mind?" It's the friendly Facebook question which lets you share what you're thinking and what you've been up to. It's also the question that unlocks the details of your life and helps turn your thoughts into Facebook's profits. Four Corners explores the world of Facebook and how your data is being mined to drive the huge success of the social media giant. Reporter Peter Greste examines the Facebook business model and shows why your private life is making them billions. The program investigates how Facebook has the ability to track much of your browsing history, even when you're not logged on, and even if you aren't a member of the social network at all. And shows how the methods used to deliver targeted advertising also drives what "news" appears in your Facebook feed, and why you are unlikely to see anything that challenges your world view. This feedback loop is fuelling the rise and power of "fake news". With more than 16 million Australian Facebook accounts, joining more than a billion other users, Four Corners investigates how much we are giving up to be part of the social network.
When Pauline Hanson and her One Nation party stormed back into politics as a major force, it was done on the promise they would be nothing like the "mainstream" political parties they and their supporters loathe. But Four Corners reveals the brutal backroom politics ripping into Pauline Hanson's One Nation party. Reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna investigates the party's inner workings and explores how former supporters have been left disenchanted, asking for Pauline Hanson to "please explain".
Four Corners exposes what happens behind closed doors in some taxpayer-funded group homes for the disabled and talks to the mothers and carers taking on the system. These are families who've made the tough decision to place their disabled children into care, in the belief it would be the safest place for them. They say their trust has been betrayed. This Four Corners investigation shines a light on the mistreatment of these vulnerable people. These are homes where sexual and physical abuse occurs and perpetrators get away with it, because police and the justice system are unable to cope with the challenges of dealing with witnesses with disabilities. One industry watchdog expresses his frustration over the failure of the group home operators to end the mistreatment. And despite the billions promised for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and plans for new protections, some warn that families need to stay vigilant. The mothers and carers who've seen their children come to harm are determined to speak out and demand action.
Four Corners brings you the views of distinguished former members of the US military and senior policy makers who warn that climate change is not only real, it's a threat to global security. They say climate change is impacting on vital resources, migration patterns and conflict zones. The film analyses the conflict in Syria, the social unrest of the Arab Spring, and the rise of groups like ISIS and how these experts believe climate change is already acting as a catalyst for conflict. Director Jared P Scott explores how water and food shortages, drought, extreme weather and rising sea-levels can act as accelerants of instability. These Pentagon insiders say a failure to tackle climate change, conducting 'business as usual', would lead to profound consequences.
"Make America Great Again!" was the catchcry that propelled President Donald Trump all the way to the White House. He tapped into the deep sense of unease felt by many Americans, that despite the nation's economic recovery after the global financial crisis, they have been left behind. Four Corners brings you the story of those Americans desperately hoping for change: America's shrinking middle class who are fast joining the swelling ranks of the working poor. Germania works 18 hours a day at two minimum-wage jobs, but no matter how hard she works, it's not enough. Most of her salary goes on the small motel room she shares with her children and mother-in-law. Her dreams of being a paediatrician have faded. Others chase work across the country. Joe, Chelsie and their three daughters, arrived in Seattle hoping to find jobs in the city's building boom. Instead, they find themselves living in a tent city set up in a church carpark. They're joined by others who never believed they could fall so far down the country's economic ladder. And as companies try to cut costs and move jobs to cheaper areas, many workers are facing an uncertain future for the first time in their working lives.
James Packer and his Crown gambling and entertainment empire have bet big, for more than a decade on China, and its VIP gamblers. These high rollers have fuelled Crown's booming businesses in Asia and Australia. But one night in October last year, all that was turned on its head. Fifteen Crown employees and a number of associates were swept into custody in a carefully coordinated series of raids across four cities in China. Crown's operations had run headlong into China's biggest ever corruption crackdown, leaving its business model in disarray. Four Corners investigates what went wrong for Crown in China. Reporter Marian Wilkinson pieces together the key characters and events in the lead up to the arrests. And explores what this means for Crown's casino business here in Australia, especially the multibillion-dollar Barangaroo project in Sydney, as the bottom falls out of their Chinese high roller market.
Life without plastic is almost unimaginable. It's become central to the way we live our lives - from everyday items like food packaging and water bottles, to sophisticated high-end products. But how many of us know what happens to that plastic when we throw it away? Scientists say vast amounts of our discarded plastic is ending up in the ocean. Working out where that plastic ends up and what impact it has on our oceans has become a major concern for many marine scientists. Four Corners brings you this thought-provoking story from French filmmaker Vincent Perazio in which he examines the work of these scientists investigating our plastic waste. Some are undertaking research to see if plastic is making its way into the food chain, others are looking into the impact on marine life and the environment. The program asks confronting questions about whether or not we need to change the way we deal with the plastics we throw away.
Four Corners takes you to the battlefields of Iraq with the ABC's award-winning Middle East correspondent, Matt Brown. In this gripping film, Matt Brown and cameraman Aaron Hollett, capture the fight to take back the city of Mosul from the IS forces which overran the city two years ago, shocking the world with the speed and the ferocity of their victory. The filming for this story began in October last year when Iraqi forces, backed by US and Australian air power, began their offensive to reclaim Mosul. Over the course of three journeys to the frontline, Matt and Aaron recorded the experiences of the soldiers fighting to liberate their home towns, and the civilians caught in the crossfire. Despite the grief, there are moments of happiness and relief as families are reunited when the IS fighters are pushed back. After months of fighting, government forces enter the suburbs of Mosul. But the city was far from secure, with the pair coming under fire. And in interviews with the former commander of the Multi-National Force in Iraq, General David Petraeus and his then advisor, former chief strategist for the State Department, David Kilcullen, outline just how hard it will be to truly claim victory against IS.
The figures are startling: seven out of every 10 Australians take some form of vitamin or supplement. We spend more, out of our own pockets, on complementary medicines than we do on prescription drugs. Spruiked by sporting heroes, acting icons and celebrity chefs, the industry is worth over $4 billion. But there is little evidence that many of these products actually work. Many pharmacies have shelves stacked high with vitamins and supplements, prominently displayed at the front of their shops, often sold in tandem with proven pharmaceuticals. Australians are often choosing these complementary medicines as insurance against a bad diet or to ward off sickness, but the benefits are highly contested. The spotlight is now being placed on the industry, with the regulator drafting changes to the way these products are sold and a government review examining whether or not pharmacies should stock them. The program investigates how these products are regulated and marketed in Australia and whether the credibility of chemists is threatened by selling them.
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