• President Donald Trump tosses paper towels into a crowd at Calvary Chapel in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico in October 2017. (AAP)Source: AAP
From terrorism to disease, Trump’s America to North Korea, these docos address the topics that matter the most.
Gavin Scott

16 Mar 2018 - 11:32 AM  UPDATED 16 Mar 2018 - 12:10 PM

We live in a crazy, complicated time. And It’s often hard to keep track of all the things going on in the world we should be enraged by, concerned about and inspired by. This selection of documentaries available on SBS On Demand does just that, bringing you up to speed with some of the most important issues of our time...

'What Facebook Knows About You'

As the world grapples with the revelations about Cambridge Analytica and the use of Facebook personal data for by groups associated with Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign, this documentary investigates how Facebook profits from its users. The program examines how the social media giant's algorithms allow advertisers and politicians to target us more directly than ever before, and questions whether Mark Zuckerberg's creation has become too big to regulate. 


‘Trump’s First Year’

Now that we're well into Donald Trump’s second year as president of the United States of America, this account of his ascension to office and his actions over his first 365 days as the most powerful man in the world has become especially compelling. The Vice report analyses the forces that led to Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton and what impact his policies since being in the Oval Office have had on his country, particularly those who voted for him.


‘Countdown to Zero: Eradicating AIDS’

How far away is a cure to AIDS? This documentary from Vice and HBO examines the progress that has been made in recent years towards finding one. And the good news is there is plenty to be hopeful about. The bad news is also covered, including continued infections and a lack of vigilance from younger generations who didn’t live through the original epidemic.


‘Fighting ISIS’

In the final weeks of 2017, major progress in the war against ISIS was made. This documentary goes back to the beginning, explaining how the extremist group came to prominence and gained such a stranglehold on the region. Fighting ISIS also takes you to the frontline, reporting on the war as it's raged and suggesting that ultimate defeat would be more complicated than it seems.


‘Fixing the System: Crime and Punishment’

In one of his many history-making acts while in office, Barack Obama became the first sitting president to visit a federal prison in 2015 when he toured El Reno Federal Prison in Oklahoma. A crew from Vice went to the jail with him, filming as Obama met with inmates and staff. The resulting documentary, Fixing the System, also looks at the state of the US prison system as a whole – and the findings are shocking.


‘Secret State: Inside North Korea’

Thanks to the Twitter war between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, and North Korea’s recent presence at the Winter Olympics, the tiny Asian nation has been at the forefront of international consciousness in recent months. But few of us have had any real understanding of what life is like in North Korea… until now. CNN reporter Will Ripley gains unparalleled access as he goes behind the border in this two-part documentary. Accompanied by government officials, Ripley visits places few non-citizens have seen before and talks to everyday North Koreans about their homeland.

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