Small Island, Big Problems

In this week’s Underreported feature, we visit Pitcairn Island—a 2 mile long by 1 mile wide island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The island was originally put on the map by the infamous mutineers of the Bounty, who settled on Pitcairn in 1790. 200 years later, the island is being rocked by a series of rape trials which are set to send half of the island’s male population to prison: six men, including the island’s mayor, have been found guilty of sexually assaulting girls as young as twelve. Historian Herbert Ford, director of the United States-based Pitcairn Island Study Center, and Bryan Nicolson from the British High Commission of New Zealand join us to discuss the trials and the history of the island. Next, Seth Mnookin examines the scandals that have recently plagued The New York Times, and analyzes what they mean for the American media in his new book, Hard News. Then, explorer Ian Baker describes his search for a legendary waterfall located in the deepest gorge in the Himalayas—a place that inspired the myth of Shangri-la. Finally, Elaine Charnov, co-director of the American Museum of Natural History’s 2004 Margaret Mead Film Festival, discusses some of the best international documentaries of 2004 with filmmakers Joe Berlinger (Gray Matter) and Liz Mermin (Beauty Academy of Kabul).