Anjali Rao. Picture: Supplied

In a world which often seems plagued by increasingly short attention spans and an inclination for scandal over substance, two current-affairs programs are proving there is still a taste for brain food on television.

SBS' multi-award-winning stalwart Dateline will celebrate its 30th anniversary, while stablemate Insight will mark its 10th year when the current affairs programs return for their 2014 seasons today.

Dateline host Anjali Rao, who joined the program last year, said the show's commitment to looking beyond Australia's borders and maintaining journalistic integrity was the key to its longevity.

Dateline returns with an interview with convicted spy Christopher Boyce, who was imprisoned for 25 years after he sold classified documents to the KGB and now claims the CIA interfered in Australian politics and trade unions during the Whitlam government. It will also present a one-on-one interview with Edward Snowden and German public broadcaster NDR, in which the whistleblower reveals more detail about NSA monitoring of civilians - and speaks about his concerns for his safety.

"It is not switch-off-the-brain television . . . but it is certainly accessible so long as you have a curiosity about the world in which we live and realise there are other countries and other people and other stories outside our shores," Rao said.

"There is also the fact that what passes for current affairs in the country normally, you would never ever see on Dateline."

Rao said Dateline would also be marking the anniversary online by showcasing some of the award-winning and unforgettable stories from the archives, as well as retrospectives from past and present Dateline members.

Since it was commissioned in 1984, Dateline has featured stories including spending four weeks on the run with Julian Assange at the height of the WikiLeaks controversy, the first interviews with two of the Bali Nine and the inside story of families fleeing North Korea.

"Without Dateline, we would not know about certain aspects of life that are happening far away from our borders and I think it really is such a credit to our journalists who go out there and dig and delve and find these stories," she said.

"They are very much slice-of-life stories about people who do not necessarily have to be famous but who are regular people with very, very engaging stories to tell."

Insight host Jenny Brockie will launch the forum program's 10th year by speaking to an all-male audience about the urge to fight.

The discussion follows the introduction of the one-punch laws in NSW after the death of Daniel Christie in King's Cross on New Year's Eve.

Brockie said she was proud of what Insight had achieved over the past decade.

"We have shown it is possible to have passionate, respectful debates about everything from arranged marriages to bikies," she said.

"People share extraordinary stories in the Insight studio, and actually listen to one another even when they disagree.

"There is a lot to celebrate."

The West Australian

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