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Horizon: Atlantis Reborn and
the Broadcasting Standards Commission
On 4th November
1999, BBC TWO broadcast Horizon: Atlantis Reborn, a documentary
that looked at the theories of best-selling author and television
presenter Graham Hancock, supported by author Robert Bauval, about
the existence of a lost civilisation. In this film, Horizon
journeys across the world to examine their evidence and put their
controversial theory to the test, pitting their claims against cutting
edge archaeology and astronomy.
Subsequent to its transmission, Mr Hancock and Mr Bauval both complained
to the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) that they had been
treated unfairly in the programme. Mr Hancock's complaint consisted
of eight distinct issues, and Mr Bauval's consisted of two.
In November 2000, following a hearing where both sides presented arguments,
the Commission published its conclusion that "the programme makers
acted in good faith in their examination of the theories of Mr Hancock
and Mr Bauval". It found some unfairness on only one issue, which
had been raised by both Mr Hancock and Mr Bauval. The Commission thought
the programme should have included an argument they had put forward
to rebut a criticism of one aspect of one of their theories.
Horizon offered to transmit a revised repeat of Horizon:
Atlantis Reborn immediately following the transmission of a summary
of the adjudication. Mr Hancock and Mr Bauval welcomed this offer,
and the Commission accepted it. Horizon will ensure that the
revised repeat takes full account of the one point on which the Commission
found some unfairness.
Though the Commission found some unfairness in our treatment of one aspect of the debate, this cannot be interpreted as support for Mr Hancock's or Mr Bauval's theories. The Commission made no judgement on the evidence for and against those theories, and did not cast doubt on Horizon's scientific assessment of it.
Read a synopsis of the BSC’s adjudication
'Atlantis Reborn Again' programme page