A news channel today reported sighting of a UFO in Madhya Pradesh leading to frenzy among local people which was later allayed after it was found that the UFO was a parasailing tourist.
News365 in its late morning broadcast, claimed that they had spotted an object that ‘looked similar UFO’, somewhere near Hanuwantiya in Madhya Pradesh. Fueling yet again speculations of alien invasion.
“Are we being attacked by aliens? Is humanity under threat or Is this yet another demonetization effect?” screamed a news anchor on the channel, dressed in an alien outfit himself.
With many questioning the channels claim, a few images on social media from a parasailing event at Jalmahotsav put to rest all speculations, forcing the channel to pull down its report.
Our reporter spoke to Editor-in-chief of News365, Sarnab Duraiswamy, questioning him on journalism ethics and if sensationalism is the only recourse left for news channels to garner TRPs.
“Our intention was never to spread rumor. But when we looked at the pictures we couldn’t identify the flying object, so we reported it as a UFO. Who would have thought that it would be someone involved in water parasailing. Have you ever seen anyone do water sports in Central India?” he questioned while being defensive.
When asked if he was aware of the Jalmahotsav festival, Mr. Duraiswamy shrugged his shoulders and said, “Are you telling me that there is an adventure sport festival in Madhya Pradesh.”
When our reporter replied saying that there was indeed a festival that involved adventure sports such as para sailing, Hot air balloon and Zorbing, the editor initially refused to believe and stuck to his claim of alien invasion.
Our reporter then opened the Jalmahotsav site in the web browser of his smartphone just to lay out facts for the editor.
“The festival is held on the Hanuwantiya Island located in Madhya Pradesh which includes air, water and land activities for adventures enthusiasts. Besides, they also have night camping facilities, food zone and crafts bazaar,” our reporter read aloud the text on the webpage, which elicited a wide eyed reaction from Mr. Duraiswamy.
Meanwhile, a similar expression was also seen on the faces of officials from the ministry of Information and broadcasting, who saw the ‘UFO report’ put out by the news channel.
Though the news channel tendered an apology, the ministry has promised to take action for careless news reporting.
“This is not the first time that the channel has been pulled up. One of their news reporter was found in National park dressed as a white tiger to know if the tigers in the park were using fairness creams to attract tourist. We will be taking action such news channels who cross boundaries for TRP,” said an official from the ministry.