Narayan Pargaien, a journalist for local media outlet News Express has come under heavy criticism from people worldwide after he filmed a piece to camera whilst sitting on the shoulders of a man whose home had been destroyed in the very flooding he was reporting on in the stricken Uttarakhand state.
Pargaien told Indian news website newslaundry.com that the derision and criticism he has faced in the wake of the incident has been entirely unfair.
“People are talking about us being inhuman and wrong but we were actually helping some of the victims there,” Pargaien said.
The man bearing Pargaien on his shoulders can be seen in the footage wobbling under the strain. That being said, the journo has claimed that the man had offered to hold him above the water as a sign of respect.
“[The man] wanted to show me some respect, as it was the first time someone of my level had visited his house. So while crossing the river he offered to help by carrying me… between which, I thought of reporting”, Pargaien said.
Pargaien didn’t stop there however, even going so far as to blame the whole thing on his cameraman who he seems to hold entirely responsible for the incident.
“The report was supposed to be telecast only with footage of me chest-up. This was entirely the cameraman’s fault, who… tried to sabotage my career by shooting from that distance and angle and releasing the video,” he is quoted as saying by SBS.
Despite Mr. Pargaien’s protestations of innocence, the BBC is reporting that News Express has terminated the journalist.
“You cannot ride on someone’s back for a story. We terminated him on Tuesday,” Nishant Chaturvedi, the head of the channel, told AFP news agency. Chaturvedi also said that Pargaien’s behaviour was “not just inhuman, but against our culture.”
More than 800 people have died in Uttarakhand state since heavy rain and landslides devastated much of Northern India 10 days ago.