30 episodes

Al Jazeera’s weekly investigative documentary programme that looks at the use and abuse of power.

People & Power Al Jazeera English

    • News

Al Jazeera’s weekly investigative documentary programme that looks at the use and abuse of power.

    • video
    Insectageddon | People & Power

    Insectageddon | People & Power

    Where are all the insects going? To anyone suffering from the over-enthusiastic attention of a cloud of mosquitoes or lamenting the effects of leaf-munching creepy crawlies in their back garden, it might seem like a ridiculous question, but it’s one that many scientists have been asking for some time now.

    Since the 1970s, according to one report from UK ecologists, half of all insects in Europe may have been lost as a result of intensive farming, the heavy use of pesticides and climate change. Another 2019 study, in the journal Biological Conservation, warned that at globally least 40% of the remaining 1 million known species of insect are believed to be facing extinction. If all this continues, they say, it could have devastating effects on the fragile ecosystem that sustains life on Planet Earth, because a crash of insect numbers threatens not only the birds and other animals which prey on them, but also the plants that rely on them for pollination. And that, in short, means much of the food we eat.

    "About 80% of crops depends on insects for pollination. 80% of the wild plant species as well”, says Professor Hans de Kroon of Radboud University in Holland. “If we are losing that, we are losing the ecological foundation of ourselves.” His own particular fears of a potential European insect apocalypse were backed up by results from a landmark study in Krefeld, Germany. Conducted over thirty years, scientists collected insects from 63 nature reserves. The results of obsessively tracking the changing numbers over time were shocking. "It was a drop of 75 per cent during a timeline of 27 years", says entomologist Martin Sorg.

    The impacts on agriculture could be dire, but ironically, one of the prime suspects is believed to be farm-based insecticides used the world over. "The whole system of having a way of farming which is entirely reliant on chucking on bucket loads of chemicals is not sustainable. We are going to wipe out insect life if we carry on this way", says Professor Dave Goulson of Sussex University.

    Reporter Eric Campbell has been finding out why scientists are so concerned – and what the solutions to the problem might be.

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    • 25 min
    • video
    Beyond the Wall: Part 1 - The Rise of Germany's Far Right | People & Power

    Beyond the Wall: Part 1 - The Rise of Germany's Far Right | People & Power

    Last November, celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall were overshadowed by a palpable sense of unease in parts of Europe.

    To be sure, the events of those weeks through late 1989 and beyond were hugely significant - iconic moments in history that came to symbolise the end of the Cold War and the decades of nuclear-tipped standoff between West and East.

    Many Europeans felt that things could never be the same again, that their continent had seen the back of communist totalitarianism and repression and that a new age of peace and prosperity and democracy beckoned.

    But in the years since, some of those dreams have turned sour amid rising xenophobia and nationalism in nations that once lay behind the Iron Curtain. Heady enthusiasm has been replaced by growing uncertainty, the world has somehow become darker and more menacing than many ever believed it would be. Things, in other words, didn't quite turn out as the optimists expected.

    There are myriad reasons for this - and of course, many of them are linked to the wider global political and economic concerns that have emerged over the last 30 years - but at least some of what troubles the continent now can be traced back to the scars left by the Cold War and the way countries handled the transition away from the authoritarianism that suffocated parts of Eastern Europe for so long.

    For this two-part special report, People & Power sent filmmakers Glenn Ellis and Viktoryia Kolchyna to find out more.

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    • 25 min
    • video
    France: Police on Trial | People & Power

    France: Police on Trial | People & Power

    For well over a year, France's yellow vest activists have been making full use of their constitutionally enshrined right to protest against the economic policies of President Emmanuel Macron - most recently in support of a trade union standoff with the government over pension reform proposals.

    But the often uncompromising response of the authorities during some of those demonstrations - in which thousands of protesters and police officers have been injured - has raised disturbing questions about the appropriate degree of force to use in maintaining public order.

    Juliana Ruhfus has been to investigate claims that increasingly paramilitary-style law enforcement techniques - including the use of riot control weapons that can seriously injure those on the receiving end - are threatening to undermine France's democratic principles.
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    • 25 min
    • video
    Europe's Recurring Shame Part 2: From Bulgaria to Brussels | People & Power

    Europe's Recurring Shame Part 2: From Bulgaria to Brussels | People & Power

    In 2014, People & Power revealed the shameful treatment of people with disabilities in Romania's state-run care homes. That film also raised disturbing questions about why the EU was funding some of those institutions.

    Now, five years on, there are fresh allegations about neglect and mistreatment - this time not just in Romania, but in neighbouring countries, too.

    For the second episode of our two-part investigation, filmmakers Sarah Spiller, Callum Macrae and Mark Williams went to Bulgaria and then EU headquarters in Brussels to find out more.

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    • 26 min
    • video
    Europe's Recurring Shame (Part 1) | People & Power

    Europe's Recurring Shame (Part 1) | People & Power

    In 2014, in a truly disturbing episode of People & Power, we revealed the shocking mistreatment of disabled people in state-run care homes in Romania. That film, which we called Europe's Hidden Shame, also raised very troubling questions about how and why some of those institutions were in receipt of funding from the EU.

    We took our evidence to the relevant ministry in Romania's capital Bucharest and then to EU headquarters in Brussels. The authorities in Romania promised to halt the abuses, the EU said that they would give the matter appropriate attention.

    Now, five years on we've heard fresh allegations about the neglect and abuse of disabled people - and not just in Romania, but elsewhere in eastern Europe. We've also heard some of the same troubling questions about where EU taxpayer's money is going.

    So we asked filmmakers Sarah Spiller, Callum Macrae and Mark Williams to investigate.

    They came back with this two-part report: Europe's Recurring Shame.

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    • 25 min
    • video
    Europe's Tourism Overload | People and Power

    Europe's Tourism Overload | People and Power

    Since the 1960s, when Europe’s middle classes first had the money and time to travel, tourism has shown no signs of slowing down.

    Last year, international tourist arrivals increased by another six percent to 1.4 billion globally and the rise now seems exponential. It speaks of increasing prosperity and leisure time for some - still largely a developed-world phenomenon - and a boost for the economies of popular destinations.

    But it also carries an environmental cost, particularly for Europe's most picturesque locations, which are buckling under the weight of ever-growing numbers.

    Mass tourism is increasingly fuelled by an exodus of travellers from China, numbers that are set to grow in the years ahead - and there is growing concern over the price being paid by those living with the influx.

    In tourist hotspots such as Venice, things have become so burdensome for locals that demonstrations against visitors have taken place.

    In Dubrovnik, fans of the Game of Thrones series are an increasing problem as they flock to visit locations where scenes of the TV show were filmed but pay little attention to genuine local culture and sensitivities.

    On the Mediterranean holiday island of Mallorca, masked activists have smashed the windshields of tourist rental cars in protest against clogged roads and worn-out infrastructure.

    In the tiny Austrian Alp town of Hallstatt, a World Heritage Site visited by a million tourists a year, the 800 inhabitants are split.

    "A rift arises between those who profit a lot and those who believe they're not profiting at all," says Alexander Scheutz, Hallstatt's Mayor, "and that's dangerous for a village where community is necessary".

    In Flam, a village nestled in the Norwegian fjords, cruise ships are a problem.

    "If you worry just a little about the environment, it can't be good. This is the worst type of travelling," says Anders Fretheim, a local farmer and activist. He has taken to putting huge placards on his land by the sea, telling the ships and tourists exactly what he thinks of them.

    Can these and other communities find their balance in the tide of tourists?

    What damage is being caused by the millions of people snapping selfies in front of the Pyramids, Buckingham Palace or the leaning tower of Pisa?

    Can the economic benefits of tourism outweigh its negative effects?

    In this episode of People & Power, Danish journalist Michael Reiter asks whether tourism is now out of control.

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    • 25 min

Customer Reviews

Le Mint ,

Astute Reportage

As with other Al Jazeera English programmes, People and Power is excellent in its coverage. I have personal experience with one of the recent topics ("Panama: Village of the Damned"), and I have to say that what I saw during my time in that region of Panama was well captured by the Al Jazeera crew.

I especially recommend People and Power, and other Al Jazeera English programmes, to my fellow U.S. citizens, so that they might get more than the usual mainstream "media-tainment" that passes for news in our country these days.

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