BBC Horizon Scandal

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Further Statement by Robert G. Bauval

As many of you may already know, the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC), Britain's watchdog committee that regulates the BBC and other broadcasting companies in the UK, has upheld a formal complaint of unfairness that I lodged against BBC 2 regarding the treatment of my Orion-Giza correlation theory. Until now there was an imposed moratorium on the matter. But finally, at long last, I can break my silence and speak out openly regarding the infamous BBC 2 Horizon programme 'Atlantis Reborn' broadcast last year on 4 November 1999.

First and foremost I want to say thank you for the support of my wife and children and for the huge encouragement that I received from friends and readers all over the world. I am also grateful to have shared this battle with Graham Hancock, who lodged his own formal complaint against the BBC on the same programme regarding the treatment of his work.

Graham and I have faced many battles before, not least with the academics and the establishment of science and, of course, the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities and the Egyptian press. But this was quite a different battle and on a much more massive scale. To put it simply, we took on the British Broadcasting Corporation (Big Brother Corporation?), the embodiment of Britain's respected and authoritative voice around the world, along with its powerful administrative and legal machine. And this regarding not any frivolous programme or soap, but the BBC's scientific and highly respected flagship documentary series, Horizon. It was an awesome and intimidating situation, but it had to be done. And someone had to do it.

Everyone knows the slogan 'don't believe everything you read in the Press'. This, sadly, can be true for much of the media this day. Facts are twisted or misrepresented, statements are edited out of context, quotes are sometimes even made up and much more suchlike dirty tricks, and all this to get a 'story' that will sell the newspaper or increase the ratings for one more day. Then on to the next story, leaving reputations and lives behind in tatters. But all my life I had thought that one could at least fully trust the 'serious' media such as the BBC in giving a balanced and fair treatment of factual events and ideas. How wrong I was. For this naïve conviction and trust was completely shattered in one brief and horrifying moment on the evening of the 4 November 1999, when BBC 2 Horizon broadcast a programme called 'Atlantis Reborn'. Had Hancock or I not been directly involved in the making of this programme, and been amongst the millions unsuspecting viewers, we probably would have taken its content on face value. But we knew without any doubt whatsoever that the programme had been 'doctored', and our role in it twisted and unfairly misrepresented. We knew alright, but as the phone calls and emails poured in after the broadcast, I soon realised the magnitude of the drama that was unleashed: there were millions of viewers out there who didn't know, and simply accepted what they were shown, without question. In my case, the issue was quite plain to see: the BBC had shown a respected American astronomer, Dr. Ed Krupp, displaying my book 'The Orion Mystery', and in no uncertain terms stated that I had placed maps and photographs 'Upside Down' in order to make my theory fit. What was more outrageous was that Krupp's accusations went completely unchecked, with no response from me or other astronomers, and what seemed like a weak and dismissive comment by Hancock simply saying that Krupp had been 'ungenerous and pedantic'. In short, Hancock and I were made to look like complete fools and con-artists, with little or nothing to say to such serious and damaging accusations. I became aware of how serious this matter was, and how much my reputation was at stake, when even some of my close friends called and said that they were horrified that Hancock and I had just stood there with nothing to say about such a damaging salvo of accusation which, to the eyes of the lay viewers, displayed me as a fraud of the worst kind. Why, they asked, had I not replied to Krupp's absurd accusation? Why had the BBC not been told that at least two senior astronomers in Britain had already dismissed Krupp's 'Upside Down' arguments as 'unfounded' and 'wrong'? My answer to them was that the BBC Horizon team HAD BEEN GIVEN A DETAILED REBUTTAL BY GRAHAM AND I, and also HAD BEEN TOLD OF OTHER ASTRONOMERS IN BRITAIN WHO HAD ALSO DONE THE SAME. So why had the BBC not shown this in the programme, they all asked.

Why indeed.

This, quite simply, was the main focus and thrust of my complaint. There were other points that Hancock also brought into his complaint, but these were secondary and, at any rate, much rested on the validity and credibility of the principal issue, namely the Orion-Giza correlation theory. After one whole year of careful deliberation, thank God this has been put right by the Broadcasting Standards Commission. In their own words the Commission:

" found that the programme's omission of Mr. Hancock's and Mr. Bauval's responses to criticism of one important aspect of their theory, which relates to a correlation between the Giza Pyramids and the Orion Constellation, had been unfair."

The BBC has now been ordered by the Commission to publish the summary of the adjudication in the main section of The Times, and alsoto broadcast it on the 14 December at 9 PM before an 'edited' re-broadcast of 'Atlantis Reborn' which is to take into account the findings and adjudication of the Commission. This is all well and fine. But it is not enough to put right the extensive damage to my life's work and my personal integrity and reputation.

First of all a whole year has elapsed since the original programme was aired and, I may add, re-aired on at least one occasion on BBC's Horizon Channel a few months later. The viral agent that they injected into the minds of the general public went largely unchecked and without serious rebuttal, not least because of the moratorium imposed on me by the Broadcasting Standards Commission. I have, therefore, officially informed the responsible person of the Horizon programme, Bettina Lerner, that she should not only include the specific aspects of my interview that were cut out of the original film but also, and more importantly, the rebuttals of Ed Krupp's accusation given by Professor Emeritus Archibald Roy of The University of Glasgow, Physics and Astronomy Department, and that of Professor Percy Seymour of The University of Plymouth, Astronomy Department. These eminent scholars are outraged that the BBC presented Ed Krupp's view in the manner they did, and have confirmed to me that they are more than willing to appear on the new and 'edited' Horizon programme to be aired on the 14 December 2000, and/or be part of a panel discussion after the programme is aired. The same requests have been made to the BBC by Graham Hancock. For it is not only our theories or reputations that are at stake here, but also the duty of accountability that the BBC has vis-à-vis the public and license payers to present a full, fair and balanced review of factual issues. We expect them and trust them to do so. And do so they must. But here is at least one case where they didn't. The presentation of the issue was unfairly manipulated in order to influence the perception of the viewers, and this conniving was done by those who should know better. It raises questions of Orwellian proportions, and just like Orwell's prophetic big brother novel 1984, this is a grim forewarning that we, as the public and viewers, must be extremely vigilant that such behaviour is not allowed to slip by. Today Horizon, tomorrow the News. For who is to say how far the controlling media may go if left unchecked? So we now urge you, the public, to join us in this campaign if you feel the same way we do. Tell the BBC that you want to see a wrong made right. Tell them that they should include Dr. Roy and Dr. Seymour to do precisely that in their re-edited programme on the 14 December. Tell them to agree to a panel discussion. And on the greater implications of such a breach, tell them enough is enough. Tell them we won't allow this. Tell them we won't take this sitting down. Remind them that it is not you, the public, who are accountable to them, but they to you.

DIEU ET MON DROIT

HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y'PENSE

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