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Georgia opposition blasts TV 'war' hoax

[ 2010-03-16 13:03]     字号 [] [] []  
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Georgia's opposition politicians on Monday denounced the government over a hoax television broadcast that said Russia had invaded and the president had been killed.

The broadcast Saturday, which simulated a news program, sparked wide anxiety in Georgia, which is still traumatized by the August 2008 war in which Russian troops advanced deep into the country.

Cellular phone networks briefly went down as panicked Georgians phoned each other. The show was identified as fictional only at its beginning - which many viewers apparently missed - and its end 30 minutes later.

Imedi, the station that aired the show, is private, but its director is a former chief of staff for President Mikhail Saakashvili. Opponents characterized the broadcast as government propaganda, aimed at discrediting them.

Imedi did not hide the fact the report was in response to two opposition leaders meeting separately with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin late last year and this month.

The aim, it said, was to demonstrate how events might unfold.

The opposition was furious, saying the stunt raised fresh questions over what international watchdogs say is state manipulation of news media under Saakashvili.

Government officials have denied involvement. Asked if Saakashvili was involved or aware of the report before it aired, his spokeswoman said she was unable to comment.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko on Monday called the broadcast "irresponsible and amoral ... (it) brought concrete damage to security and stability in the region, substantially raising the degree of tension.."

He also criticized Saakashvili for his "approving attitude" to the broadcast.


1: What country was supposed to have invaded?

2: When was the previous war?

3: What is the name of the Russian prime minister?


1: Russia.

2: August 2008.

3: Vladimir Putin.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Georgia opposition blasts TV 'war' hoax

About the broadcaster:

Georgia opposition blasts TV 'war' hoax

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.