Four Corners

Apology to Len Roberts

On 8 November 2021 the ABC broadcast a program called Obeid Inc and published a transcript of that program on the ABC website. The publications included an interview with Mr Len Roberts, a First Nations person, and a former Councillor of the MidCoast Council, and a member and former CEO of the Karuah Local Aboriginal Land Council (KLALC).

The publications contained allegations concerning the Obeid family’s role in property developments on the north coast of NSW. The ABC did not intend to suggest that Mr Roberts was working or co-operating with the Obeids or that Mr Roberts behaved in any way inappropriately in his roles as a former councillor and former CEO of the KLALC. If the program did inadvertently make those allegations about Mr Roberts the ABC unreservedly withdraws them. The ABC apologises to Mr Roberts for any hurt or embarrassment caused by the publications.

Predator: The Secret Scandal of J-Pop

Monday 10 April at 8.30pm

This week on Four Corners Japan’s secret sex scandal.

Johnny Kitagawa is considered the Godfather of Japanese pop culture.

It’s believed he produced more number-one artists, more number-one singles and more concerts than almost any other music executive in the world.

But for over 50 years, Japan has kept Kitagawa’s dark secret – a long history of allegations of sexual abuse, made by boys in his talent agency.

Even after the music mogul’s death in 2019 the Japanese media remained largely silent about what went on behind closed doors.

BBC Journalist Mobeen Azhar explores the suffocating reality of being a J-pop idol, the influence that Kitagawa had on the media and the brutal consequences of turning a blind eye.

This documentary investigates how the Japanese enabled the horrific abuse and over decades helped cover it up.

Predator, a BBC production, goes to air on Monday April 10th at 8.30pm on ABC TV and ABC iview.

Also see Moheen’s article

Hackers Inc: Chasing the cybercrime syndicates attacking Australia

Monday 17 April 8:30 pm

Australia is under cyber-attack and the problem is not going away – it’s getting worse.

This week on Four Corners, reporter John Lyons tracks the criminal syndicate behind one of Australia’s largest-ever data breaches.

He finds highly-organised criminal gangs, often based in Russia, that have dozens of employees and even HR departments.

Lyons travels from Canberra to Ukraine where he discovers that we are battling a common enemy, and where Australians are on the frontline of the fight against hackers.

This gripping episode of Four Corners takes you inside the operations fighting a silent parallel cyber war and asks what can be done to stop the hackers?

Hackers Inc reported by John Lyons goes to air on Monday 17 April at 8.30pm on ABC TV and ABC iview.

Fox and the Big Lie

Monday 24 April 8:30 PM

Fox News has abruptly agreed to pay more than $1 billion over allegations it promoted misinformation about the 2020 US election.

It’s one of the highest publicly known defamation settlements in US history.

The settlement with election technology company Dominion Voting Systems was the latest twist in an extraordinary case that has exposed the inner workings of the powerful Murdoch-owned conservative news network. Dominion, in addition to the huge payout, exacted a statement from Fox News that “certain claims” it made about the company were not true.

This case is just one of many launched against Fox and its friends.

Two years ago, reporter Sarah Ferguson investigated how Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News promoted Donald Trump’s propaganda and helped destabilise democracy in America.

This week Four Corners has decided to re-air that special investigation in light of the Dominion settlement.

Fox will no longer be scrutinised through a trial, so this is the complete story.

Fox and the Big Lie reported by Sarah Ferguson goes to air on Monday 24th April at 8.30pm on ABC TV and ABC iview.


Two middle fingers to ACMA I see

Going Nuclear: Australia’s high risk submarine gamble

Monday 1 May 8:30 PM

This week Four Corners investigates serious shortfalls in Australia’s nuclear ambitions.

As Australia embarks on the $368 billion AUKUS plan to acquire a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, reporter Angus Grigg exposes major delays and safety issues in our current vessels.

The navy insists its six Collins Class subs, which cost $740 million to run last year, are a “lethal capability”, but Grigg and the Four Corners Team have found the NAVY has failed to meet crucial operational targets for the last two years.

These struggles raise doubts about our ability to run a far more complex and ambitious nuclear program.

As China embarks on the biggest military build-up since World War Two, Australia will continue to rely on the ailing Collins as our silent strike weapon.

Going Nuclear reported by Angus Grigg goes to air on Monday 1st May at 8.30pm on ABC TV and ABC iview.

AI Rising: The new reality of artificial life

Monday 8 May 8:30 PM

As tech companies race to dominate the artificial intelligence market, trying to one-up each other in the pursuit of profit, many experts are warning that we’re not prepared for what happens next.

This week on Four Corners, reporter Grace Tobin investigates the misuse and abuse of generative artificial intelligence and what it means for humanity.

Tobin meets a man who has fallen in love with his chatbot, Mimi.

She investigates the proliferation of deepfake pornography now targeting Australian women, including public figures, and interrogates a perpetrator.

The ultimate question being: how do we regulate the AI revolution?

AI Rising reported by Grace Tobin goes to air Monday May 8th at 8.30pm on ABC TV and ABC iview.

Inside Russia: Traitors and Heroes

Monday 15 May 8:30 PM

This week Four Corners goes deep inside Russia to document the opposition to the Ukrainian war.

The filmmakers get rare access to the brave Russians who are willing to speak out against their government. Despite the incredible risk, a group of graffiti artists, an actor, a local politician, and a YouTube influencer let the producers film their lives as they voice dissent.

It’s been dangerous for Russians to speak up against Vladimir Putin’s regime for years. New censorship laws, introduced since the invasion of Ukraine, have made it tougher than ever.

This Storyville, BBC co-production is a gripping and timely piece of journalism.

Cocaine Nation

Monday 22 May 8:30 PM

Australians are the highest per capita users of cocaine in the world.

We’re taking more than ever and we’re paying top dollar for it too – among the highest prices globally.

While police around the country celebrate big busts, the rivers of white continue to flood in, and out to market.

So, who is behind the booming trade?

This week on Four Corners, reporter Mahmood Fazal speaks with the people involved in the cocaine supply chain, lifting the lid on the shadowy underworld.

With unprecedented access to traffickers, importers, street dealers and high-ranking cartel operatives who break their code of silence, Fazal reveals the highs, the lows and the very real dangers the movement of illicit drugs in Australia poses.

A Cross-Promotion for this lead the 8am Radio news today, then a few minutes later during AM, another Cross-Promotion for the same story.

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There is a cross-promotion report on ABC News website as well.

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Hiding Behind Tombstones: The new legal tactics blocking justice for survivors

Monday 29 May 8:30 PM

Five years on from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, survivors seeking compensation in civil claims are being thwarted by extraordinary legal tactics that they say make their quest for proper compensation harder than ever.

The Royal Commission was meant to make it easier for victims to seek justice, but a fierce battleground is emerging which is flying in the face of law reforms recommended by the historic inquiry and enacted by parliaments.

In this week’s Four Corners, Louise Milligan goes inside the legal fight as lawyers representing victims face institutions pushing to have cases thrown out of court altogether.

In one case, a survivor faces losing his house due to legal costs as he’s denied the right to sue the organisation even though his convicted perpetrator is alive, in jail, and willing to give evidence.

Another institution is threatening to prevent an Aboriginal woman from seeking compensation through the courts because the perpetrator, who had been charged in relation to abuse of dozens of First Nations children, died shortly before his criminal trial.

In a third, an institution turned on a family member of a victim of a convicted paedophile, seeking costs from them because it argued they should have known that the priest was a predator.

This powerful investigation reveals the extent to which some of the institutions will go to, say survivors and their lawyers, to save money.

Frontline Taiwan: Standing Up to China

Monday 5 June 8:30 PM

The small island state of Taiwan is in dire straits – stuck in the middle of a struggle between two nuclear superpowers – China and the United States. There are real fears it will become the centre of our next major global conflict.

While China insists Taiwan must re-unify with the motherland, Taiwan’s president says the island must maintain its freedom and democracy.

This episode of Four Corners takes you inside that fight and tells a story that could have ramifications for all of us.

The BBC’s Jane Corbin talks to young people training in urban warfare and bracing themselves for continued cyber-attacks, disinformation and the possibility of all-out battle.

She interviews a pro-Beijing campaigner and a former gang leader to answer the question, what next for Taiwan?

Frontline Taiwan, reported by the BBC’s Jane Corbin goes to air on Monday 5th June at 8.30pm on ABC TV and ABC iview.


Game, Bet, Match

Monday 12 June 8:30 PM

This week Four Corners reveals the secretive deals between Australia’s big sporting codes and bookmakers.

Reporter Pat McGrath investigates how the global gambling industry has tightened its grip on Australian sport, even offering live betting on amateur community games.

Through insider interviews and forensic research, McGrath and the team expose how sport’s governing bodies get a cut of every bet made in Australia on their games.

For some codes, the riskier the bet, the bigger the cut.

Punters and some sports executives alike are concerned that the increased emphasis on betting in sport could not only be dangerous but could change the way the games are played.

Game, Bet, Match reported by Pat McGrath goes to air on Monday 12th of June at 8.30pm on ABC TV and ABC iview.

Traitor: Australia’s greatest untold spy story

Monday 19 June 8:30 PM

This week Four Corners reveals one of Australia’s best kept secrets.

The program will expose how a senior officer at our national spy agency stole and sold highly classified intelligence to Russia’s KGB for at least six years.

Four Corners has uncovered the details of the breath-taking betrayal that jeopardised Australia’s security relationship with two of our closest allies – the United States and Britain.

Reporters Sally Neighbour and Margot O’Neill forensically thread the pieces of information gathered over decades of investigations, to uncover the truth about one of this country’s most grievous security breaches.

Traitor, reported by Margot O’Neill and Sally Neighbour goes to air on Monday 19th of June at 8.30pm on ABC TV and ABC iview.


Dirty Deeds: Inside Australia’s Biggest Tax Scam

Monday 26 June 8:30 PM

This week Four Corners takes you inside the vast conspiracy to defraud more than $100 million from Australian taxpayers.

The Plutus Payroll scheme is the biggest tax fraud in this country’s history.

Plutus processed payroll for contractors at corporate and government clients.

In fact, the masterminds behind the scam were skimming tax dollars instead of sending them to the ATO.

Reporter Paul Farrell and the team have scoured thousands of pages of documents and more than 70 hours of intercepted phone, video and audio material that was pivotal to the case against the key conspirators – to piece together how the scheme was set up and ultimately, how it was brought down.

It’s the first time the phone taps have been heard outside the courtrooms where the fraudsters were found guilty.

The program offers an exclusive insight into the brazen scheme and the people who created it.

Dirty Deeds reported by Paul Farrell goes to air on ABC TV on Monday 26th of June at 8.30pm on ABC TV and ABC iview.


Putin and the Presidents

Monday 3 July 8:30 PM

A week after the Wagner rebellion exposed cracks in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s power, Four Corners investigates his decades long clashes with American Presidents.

Drawing on in-depth conversations with insiders from five U.S. presidential administrations, former U.S. intelligence leaders, diplomats, Russian politicians, authors and journalists, the documentary reveals how the miscalculations and missteps of multiple American presidents over two decades paved the way for Putin’s attack on Ukraine – as seen through the eyes of people who were in the room.

From acclaimed FRONTLINE filmmaker Michael Kirk and his award-winning team, Putin and the Presidents traces how, prior to launching the war on Ukraine, Putin tested the waters by provoking and defying American presidents for 20 years — cyberattacking Estonia, invading Georgia, seizing Crimea, and interfering in a U.S. presidential election.

The report provides unique insight into the icy relationship between Putin and current U.S. President Joe Biden, and into the evolution of Putin’s grievances with the U.S. and the West.

As the war on Ukraine continues, Putin and the Presidents gives essential context for this historic moment.

Putin and the Presidents from PBS Frontline goes to air on Monday 3rd July at 8.30pm on ABC TV and ABC iView.

After 8 glorious years at @abcnews, I’m finishing up at the end of this week. Off to travel before I move to the UK & freelance across Europe. It’s been an extraordinary adventure. This place has become a big part of my identity because of those who keep it running. (cont ⤵️)

— Harriet Tatham (@HarrietTatham) July 3, 2023
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