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BBC World Service - Documentary Archive

The Documentary Podcast

Download the latest documentaries Investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

The Documentary Podcast

  • India's battle with online porn
    Access to pornography though mobile phones has been sudden and widespread in India: some say way too sudden for a conservative society, and blame this for the sexual violence against women. But when legal attempts are made to ban pornography, a strong resistance emerges in the name of freedom of expression, including sexual expression. Others argue that online pornography is the wrong target, pointing out that around a third of porn viewers in India are women. But what do Indian men themselves make of this? The BBC’s India Women Affairs correspondent Divya Arya travels the country to meet men from all backgrounds to find out.

  • Inside Burundi’s Killing Machine
    An investigation into the 'killing machine' of one of Africa's most repressive and secretive countries. Three years ago there was widespread unrest in the East African country of Burundi when the country’s president ran for a third term. Protestors said he was violating the constitution that limits presidential terms to just two. Since then street protests have ended but a BBC investigation has now uncovered evidence of government sponsored torture and killings designed to silence dissent. The government has always denied any human rights violations, and declined to comment on the allegations in this programme. Reporter Maud Jullien. Producers Charlotte Atwood and Michael Gallagher. *This programme contains graphic scenes of torture and killing. (Image: A computer generated image of an alleged detention house in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura. A red liquid, which looked like blood, was seen pouring from its gutter. Credit: BBC)

  • Vicky Phelan: The Woman who Changed Ireland
    This is the story of Vicky Phelan, a mother of two from Limerick, Ireland. Vicky has cancer of the cervix and in 2017 she was given just six months to live. As she battled to save her own life, Vicky uncovered a scandal that rocked the Irish establishment and exposed a country still coming to grips with radical social upheaval. As part of the ‘BBC 100 Women’ season, Helen Devlin meets the woman who changed Ireland.

  • Radio La Colifata
    How is a radio station in an Argentinian psychiatric hospital changing the way people view mental illness? Radio La Colifata - slang for loon, or crazy person - airs from Hospital Jose Borda in Buenos Aires every Saturday afternoon. In-patients produce and present the shows, discussing everything from Argentinean politics and the economy to their own mental health and treatment. Millions of Argentinians tune in and interact with the show as it goes out live, encouraging a dialogue between the La Colifata team and the outside world which otherwise might not happen.

  • A Stark Choice for Cambodia's Surrogates
    In a Cambodian hospital, a group of terrified new mothers nurse tiny babies under the watch of police guards. They're surrogates, desperately poor women promised $10,000 to bear children for parents in China. But they were arrested under new anti-trafficking rules, and now they face an agonising choice: either they agree to keep children they didn't want and can't easily afford to bring up, children who aren't genetically theirs - or they honour their surrogacy contracts, and face up to 20 years in jail. Tim Whewell reports on the suffering as country after country in Asia cracks down on commercial surrogacy - and asks whether the detained mothers are criminals - or victims. (Image: Former Cambodian surrogate Va-Tei: "I feel really sad that I had to give the baby away." Credit: BBC)