Hardtalk interviews newsmakers and personalities from across the globe.

Hardtalk interviews newsmakers and personalities from across the globe.
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Hardtalk interviews newsmakers and personalities from across the globe.




Aryana Sayeed: Afghanistan’s biggest pop star

The fight for Afghanistan's future has been joined far beyond the frontlines between Government forces and the Taliban. Stephen Sackur interviews Aryana Sayeed, who is engaged in the struggle by using her own potent weapons: her voice, her songs and a spirit of defiance. She is Afghanistan’s biggest pop star, and has braved death threats to campaign for women’s rights and artistic freedom. Is this a fight she can win?


Eliot Higgins: Searching for facts in a 'post-truth' world

Can complex truths be revealed using digital fragments from the worldwide web? Eliot Higgins is the founder of the investigative website Bellingcat, which in recent years has broken a series of scoops. Bellingcat has exposed the depth of Russian military involvement in the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine; it revealed the identities of two key Russian suspects in the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal; most recently, it has provided damning detail about the...


Megan Phelps-Roper: Leaving 'America's most obnoxious hate group'

Holding placards outside the funerals of dead soldiers, celebrating the death of children after school massacres: Westboro Baptist Church has been called the "most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America". From the age of 5, Megan Phelps-Roper had stood on the picket lines, and carried those hate-filled signs. But as an adult firing off tweets to her online critics, Megan began to doubt. Shaun Ley speaks to Megan Phelps-Roper in London. Can Megan really still regard those who abused her...


Daniel Jones: The man who unveiled the CIA’s darkest secrets

Eighteen years since the 9/11 attack on the United States, and the impact still reverberates even as memories fade. The US Government responded by adopting a counter-terror strategy embracing ‘enhanced interrogation’, a euphemism for torture. Stephen Sackur interviews Daniel Jones, who led a six year investigation into the CIA’s darkest secrets. Now his story has been turned into a movie; but did America cease to care, long ago?


Behrouz Boochani: Six years as a marooned migrant

In 2013, the Australian Government adopted a draconian anti-immigration policy, which involved sending all sea-borne would-be asylum seekers to de-facto detention camps in remote Papua New Guinea and Micronesia. Stephen Sackur interviews one of them. Behrouz Boochani is an Iranian Kurd who has written about his extraordinary six-year experience as a marooned migrant. He’s now a prize-winning author, but is his long-term fate any clearer?


Stephen Sackur is on the road in Zimbabwe

In a special edition of HARDtalk, Stephen Sackur is on the road in Zimbabwe to witness the effects of change in Southern Africa’s climate. Zimbabwe in the post-Mugabe era is wrestling with an economic crisis, endemic corruption and widespread poverty, which leaves Zimbabweans extremely vulnerable in the face of prolonged drought. Crops have failed, hydro power is down and taps have run dry. Can Zimbabwe adapt to looming environmental crisis?


Wendell Pierce: A tale of two Americas

The American TV series The Wire, which methodically dissected America’s war with drugs, was an eye-opener for many. Shaun Ley interviews Wendell Pierce, whose role as Detective Bunk Moreland brought him international attention. Now he’s on stage in London as the protagonist in Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman. But it was Hurricane Katrina that defined him, when he rolled up his own sleeves when his childhood home was smashed. After his city’s darkest hour, when help failed to come,...


Liu Xiaoming: How will China respond to unrest in Hong Kong?

Is Chinese leader Xi Jinping facing the most serious challenge of his presidency? The significance of the political unrest in Hong Kong stretches far beyond the borders of its territory. If Beijing cannot quell the calls for freedom in Hong Kong, what does that tell us about the sustainability of its authoritarian rule elsewhere? Stephen Sackur speaks to China’s Ambassador in London, Liu Xiaoming.


Mangaliso Ndlovu: Can Zimbabwe avert environmental disaster?

Zimbabwe is wrestling with economic crisis, endemic corruption and prolonged drought. Crops have failed, hydro-power is down, taps have run dry. Also at risk is the country's wildlife population – animals and people are now in a desperate competition for resources. Mangaliso Ndlovu is Zimbabwe's Environment minister. Does his government have a plan to avert environmental disaster?


Christopher Ruddy: How much trouble is Donald Trump in?

Will the impeachment proceedings on Capitol Hill derail Donald Trump's presidency? Christopher Ruddy is CEO of Newsmax and a close personal friend of the US president. He has accused Democrats of playing politics with impeachment, while the President himself calls the impeachment inquiry a witch hunt. How much trouble is Donald Trump actually in?


Author and explorer - Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Stephen Sackur interviews Sir Ranulph Fiennes. He is an extremist of a very special kind - nothing to do with his political views - but recognition of a lifetime spent embracing physical challenges at the extreme limit of human endurance. He has taken on - and conquered - the polar ice, the world’s highest peaks and the most gruelling deserts. He's been described as one of the world’s greatest living explorers. So what's the motivation for this life of extreme adventure?


Investigative journalist - Ronan Farrow

How did a Hollywood insider break the story that took the shine off Tinseltown? HARDtalk's Sarah Montague interviews journalist Ronan Farrow, who won a Pulitzer prize for his investigation of Harvey Weinstein. His revelations about the film producer prompted an outpouring of rage at the way women had been treated, and triggered the #MeToo movement – an attempt at breaking the silence around sexual assault. In his new book Catch and Kill he’s posing difficult questions about the powerful...


Minister for Islamic Affairs in Malaysia -Mujahid Yusof Rawa

Malaysia has one of Asia’s most vibrant economies - the result of decades of stability and economic growth. It is also a multi-ethnic, multi-religious federation - but the majority ethnic Muslim Malays dominate the country politically. Zeinab Badawi speaks to Malaysia’s Minister for Islamic affairs Mujahid Yusof Rawa. Are racial and religious divides threatening Malaysia’s stability and future prospects? There is growing concern that such tensions have been getting worse since a new...


Film director - Ken Loach

Can cinema change society? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to film director Ken Loach, one of the most lauded and durable directors in the UK film industry. He’s made 27 films and he’s won the biggest prize at Cannes twice for his socially conscious, realist works. His latest is an unrelenting, bleak take on the exploitation of workers in the so-called gig economy.


Esther Duflo - Nobel Prize-winning economist

Shaun Ley speaks to the Nobel Prize winning economist Esther Duflo. The experimental trails she ran with two colleagues in Africa and India produced some surprising results. Among their findings: food aid isn’t helping the poor, and the poorest kids don’t need more books, they need more time. A fashionable idea wins the Nobel Prize. But is this really a story of failure of economists to predict the financial crisis, and of economics to offer big solutions?


Hong Kong’s Secretary for Housing and Transport , 2012 – 2017 - Anthony Cheung

Last weekend in Hong Kong, metro stations were torched, the Chinese state news agency was attacked, police fired water cannon and tear gas, and 200 people were arrested. That is Hong Kong’s new normal. How long can it go on without a major intervention from Beijing? Is there any way out of the impasse between Hong Kong’s government and pro-democracy protestors? Stephen Sackur interviews former senior official in the territory’s administration, Anthony Cheung. Are Hong Kong’s prospects bleak?


Richard Haass - President, Council on Foreign Relations

Donald Trump wants Americans to bask in the afterglow of the killing of the world’s most wanted terrorist, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. But many are focused on the daily developments of the impeachment investigation. Both say something important about the way Donald Trump conducts national security and foreign policy. Stephen Sackur interviews former senior US diplomat Richard Haass. Trump horrifies the foreign policy establishment, but does that matter to American voters?


Campaigner and businesswoman Gina Miller

Perhaps inevitably, Britain’s unresolved Brexit agony has led to a general election. The current Parliament could not find a path out of the morass, so the people must now elect a new one. Brexit has exposed profound tensions in Britain’s vaunted system of democracy, raising questions about the relationship between the people, Parliament, Government and the courts. Stephen Sackur speaks to businesswoman Gina Miller, who led two legal challenges to the Government’s Brexit strategy and won...


Former Olympic swimmer - Casey Legler

Imagine having an extraordinary sporting talent, but finding yourself traumatised by the realities of elite-level competition. Imagine being defined by your gender and physicality in ways that crushed your own sense of yourself. Stephen Sackur interviews former Olympic swimmer turned artist, model and now writer Casey Legler about their pain-filled early life, which included a prolonged battle with alcohol and drugs. What did it take to emerge from the darkness?


Former spy - Willie Carlin

What was it like to be a spy during the Troubles in Northern Ireland? HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur speaks to former MI5 agent Willie Carlin. He became an undercover spy within Sinn Féin, the political wing of the IRA, during the so-called 'dirty war'. He was dramatically extracted after his cover was blown. Now he’s written a book - Thatcher's Spy - about his experiences.