2010-fiktionaler Imedi TV-Bericht

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25 Mar. '10 NATO-Sprecher James Appathurai: fiktionaler Bericht "unklug" und "nicht hilfreich"
A fake news report by Georgian television station, Imedi, on March13 was "unwise" and "unhelpful", James Appathurai, the NATO spokesman, said on Wednesday.
He made the remarks after asked at a news conference in Brussels if NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, would raise the issue when he meets President Saakashvili on March 25.
"I do not know what he [the Secretary General] intends to raise, but I do know, that from NATO's point of view this hoax television broadcast was unwise, unhelpful and, let's say, not seen positively within NATO," Appathurai said.
Asked if the fake news report could have any effect on Georgia's eventual NATO membership, Appathurai responded that these two issues should not be linked.
"Georgia's membership in NATO is certainly not for tomorrow; there are fundamental and I think long-term reforms that need to take place," he said. "This television broadcast has taken place; it is now finished, but if you are to ask what NATO thinks of it, the answer would not be approval."
President Saakashvili will be in Brussels on March 25 to participate in European People’s Party (EPP) summit. During the visit he will meet with Anders Fogh Rasmussen in NATO headquarters.
"We have deep partnership with Georgia," Appathurai said. "Commitment of NATO to supporting Georgia's reforms, to Georgia's territorial integrity - I am sure he [President Saakashvili] will hear that again from the Secretary General; but of course there's lot going on in the country and in the region."

24 Mar. '10 Christian-Democratic Movement CDM startet Verfahren zur Einsetzung eines parlamentarischen Ausschusses bezüglich der Telefonaufzeichnungen um den fiktionalen Imedi TV-Bericht
Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), a leading party in parliamentary minority group, has launched formal proceedings requesting setting up of an ad hoc parliamentary commission to probe into recording phone conversations, which surfaced in connection with Imedi TV’s fake report.
MP Levan Vepkhvadze of CDM, who is vice-speaker of the parliament, told Civil.Ge on March 24, that the party had already submitted a request in written form to the legislative body’s registry.
The request has yet to be discussed by the parliamentary bureau, which includes senior lawmakers and which sets the legislative body’s weekly agenda.
Endorsement of the proposal is less likely as lawmakers from the ruling party have already spoken out strongly against such initiative saying that there was no need for the probe as there was no doubt that recordings were fabricated by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).
Asked if he thought that questions on the matter would linger unless no documented confirmation was produced, a senior lawmakers from the ruling party MP Pavle Kublashvili told Civil.Ge last week: “It [Russian involvement] is absolutely clear for the society and I hope that you also have no question marks about it.”
One of the recordings involves a brief discussion allegedly between Culture Minister Nika Rurua and President Saakashvili about the fake TV report. This recording, in which the man with voice resembling the one of Saakashvili says it was a mistake of Imedi TV not to make a disclaimer caption on the screen, was posted on a mysterious Russian-language website a day after a separate recording of phone conversation between Imedi TV's head and his deputy surfaced on the same website on March 15. This latter conversation indicated that President Saakashvili could have been behind the TV hoax.

19 Mar. '10 Behörden schließen eine Untersuchung der Telefonaufzeichnungen zum Imedi TV-Bericht aus
Pavle Kublashvili, Abgeordneter der Regierungspartei: "Es sollte keine Gutachten dieser Telefonaufzeichnungen aus einenm einfachen Grund heraus geben: eine Spur zu russischen Nachrichtendiensten ist offensichtlich."
Authorities Rule Out Probe into Fake TV Report-Related Phone Recordings
The authorities have ignored calls for probe into recorded phone conversations, which surfaced in connection with Imedi TV's fake report, saying that there was no doubt that recordings were "fabricated" by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and there was no need to make further focus on the issue in internal political discourse as it was exactly what Russia wanted.
One of the recordings involves a brief discussion allegedly between Culture Minister Nika Gilauri and President Saakashvili about the fake TV report.
"I will not comment on fabrications made by FSB [Russia's Federal Security Service] and on such foolishness," Rurua said on March 19 after he was asked to comment on the recordings.
This recording, in which the man with voice resembling the one of Saakashvili says it was a mistake of Imedi TV not to make a disclaimer caption on the screen, was posted on a mysterious Russian-language website a day after a separate recording of phone conversation between Imedi TV's head and his deputy surfaced on the same website. This latter conversation indicated that President Saakashvili could have been behind the TV hoax.
Christian-Democratic Movement, a leading party in the parliamentary minority, called for setting up of an ad hoc investigative parliamentary commission into the matter and opposition Alliance for Georgia, called on the authorities to carry out an expertise of the recording with the participation of foreign experts.
"There should be no expertise of these phone recordings for one simple reason: a trace of Russian special services is obvious," Pavle Kublashvili, a ruling party lawmaker, who chairs parliamentary committee for legal affairs, told Civil.Ge on March 18.
Asked if he though that questions on the matter would linger unless no documented confirmation was produced, MP Kublashvili responded: “It [Russian involvement] is absolutely clear for the society and I hope that you also have no question marks about it.”
"It is just in Russia’s interests if we now start discussing it and we are not going to do that,” he said.

17 Mar. '10 EU-Kommissionspräsident Barroso äußert zum Imedi TV-Bericht: er sei besorgt ... Georgien solle Aktionen unterlassen, die die Spannungen anheizen.
President of European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, said on March 17 he was "concerned" about Imedi TV's fake report on Russian invasion and called on Georgia to refrain from actions which might fuel tensions.
"I am concerned by recent reports of a hoax news item in Tbilisi," Reuters reported quoting Barroso, "I want to urge Georgia to refrain from any activities which could exacerbate local or regional tensions."
He was speaking at a news conference after meeting with Georgian PM Nika Gilauri in Brussels.
Gilauri told the news conference that the television stations, which carried the fake report was privately owned. It is not clear who is behind a company, which owns 90% of the television station shares. Head of the television station is Giorgi Arveladze, a former economy minister and a long-time ally of President Saakashvili.
Barroso reiterated EU's "strong commitment to stability and democracy in Georgia and our firm support for Georgia's territorial integrity and conflict resolution efforts."
"The upcoming local elections will be an opportunity for Georgia to demonstrate further its commitment to political pluralism and international standards for free and fair elections," he said.
His press office reported, that Barroso "congratulated Gilauri for the progress already made in eradicating corruption and reforming the justice sector."

16 Mar. '10 Französischer Botschafter äußert sich zum Imedi TV-Bericht
French ambassador in Tbilisi, Eric Fournier, complained on March 16 about footage of him used in Imedi TV's fake report.
In a letter sent to the head of the television stations, Giorgi Arveladze, the French diplomat said he was "surprised" to see archive footage of him speaking about the events completely unrelated to the subject of the fictitious report, which he said was "completely irresponsible" broadcast.
He also said that the case has "harmed the reputation" of the Imedi TV station and raised fundamentation questions, which should be address by the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC).
The commission ordered the broadcaster on March 15 to again apologize and also to read out in its primetime news bulletin GNCC's decision in full saying that Imedi violated broadcaster's code of conduct and law on broadcasting.
The French ambassador’s archive footage, where he speaks to reporters with Georgian voiceover translation, was used in a segment of the fake report in which journalist tells viewers about a meeting of Georgian Foreign Minister with Tbilisi-based western diplomats to brief them about the details of Russia's military intervention. Archive footage of the British and Czech ambassadors to Georgia were also used in the same segment.
Denis Keefe, the British ambassador to Georgia, expressed protest about use of archive footage of him and said it was “discourtesy” to him.
U.S. ambassador, John Bass, said on March 14: "I do not think that type of broadcast, frankly even if it had an indication that it was fiction, is particularly constructive at this point in time to help Georgia address real problems and threats to security it faces."
Dunja Mijatovic, a new OSCE representative on freedom of the media, said the fake TV report was “irresponsible journalism.”
EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) warned against such "irresponsible" reports and said on March 16, that it “has the potential to seriously destabilize the situation” in areas close to breakaway regions.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said it was "political paranoia", which had caused "a very concrete damage to the security and stability in the region."
The Georgian President's administration has called on the international community to pay attention on Russia’s policies towards Georgia rather then focusing on the fake report by a television station.
“The Georgian government believes that instead of concentrating attention on violation of standards of ethics by a television station, the attention of the international community should be focused – as it is – on such real facts like Russia’s occupation, ethnic cleansing, non-fulfillment of ceasefire agreement, open actions by Russia directed towards overthrow of the democratically elected Georgian government and attempts to restore so called spheres of influence,” President’s spokesperson, Manana Manjgaladze, said on March 15.

16 Mar. '10 Weitere Aufzeichnungen von Telefongesprächen zum Imedi TV-Bericht
Audio recording of a telephone conversation allegedly between President Saakashvili and Georgian Minister of Culture, Nika Rurua, related to ongoing controversy over Imedi TV fake report emerged on March 16.
The audio file of the recording was posted on the same website by anonymous user, where a recorded phone conversation between Giorgi Arveladze, head of Imedi TV and his deputy, appeared on March 15.
Part of the recording was aired by Rustavi 2 TV’s 6pm news bulletin.
Man, whose voice sounds like the one of Nika Rurua, allegedly speaking from Paris, asks the interlocutor whether the panic caused by Imedi TV’s fake report “calmed down.”
Man, whose voice sounds like the one of President Saakashvili responds: “It was only a five-minute panic. Imedi TV should have warned [viewers] by making a caption below [the screen] saying that it was an imitation, but they did not do that. But on the other hand they depicted a scenario, which is absolutely precise; that’s exactly Russian scenario.”
“Yes, but it’s not worth of causing mass panic,” the man, purportedly Nika Rurua, says.
“And it should not have and for that reason they should have warned [viewers] and they should have written a caption; I’ve called Arveladze and told it to him,” the man, purportedly Saakashvili responds.
The President’s administration has not yet commented.
In the audio recording of phone conversation between Arveladze and his deputy, head of the Imedi TV says that it was a desire of “Misha” - a short form for the name Mikheil, as President Saakashvili is usually referred to – to run the fake report not only without a disclaimer caption on the screen, but also without a prior warning in the start of the broadcast.
Both Arveladze and his deputy, Eka Tsamalashvili, said that the recording of their conversation was “fabricated” through “compilation” made from their various phone conversations.
Irakli Alasania, the leader of Alliance for Georgia, called on the authorities to carry out an expertise of the recording with the participation of foreign experts to verify authenticity of the recording.
MP Giorgi Targamadze, the leader of Christian-Democratic Movement and of parliamentary minority, called for setting up of an ad hoc investigative parliamentary commission to probe into the case. His proposal, however, was dismissed by ruling party lawmakers as “not serious.”

16 Mar. '10 EU-Beobachter warnen vor Berichten wie dem Imedi TV-Bericht; kann zu ernsthafter Destabilisierung der Lage nahe der abtrünnigen Regionen führen
EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) said that “irresponsible programming” like Imedi TV fake report “has the potential to seriously destabilize the situation” in areas close to breakaway regions.
“Dangerous and significant incidents could have occurred,” EUMM said in a statement on March 16. “We call on all those with positions of responsibility to fully consider the implications of their actions in future. It must be in everyone’s interest to ensure that security and stability are maintained.”
It also said that the mission was following closely situation on the ground in the wake of Imedi TV’s fake report on March 13.
“During the event, EUMM was in contact with the Russian Border Guards and South Ossetian de facto authorities through the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism ‘hotline’. We were able to reassure them of the ‘simulated’ nature of the Imedi TV programme and to verify that their level of alert had remained unchanged,” EUMM said.
It also said that security situation in these areas had “improved considerably” since the winter of 2008 and had remained calm in the aftermath of the fake TV broadcast.
“However our monitors have witnessed the anxiety and concern of the local population for their security and safety caused by this incident,” it said.
EUMM statement is latest in series of statements by international community condemning the fake report depicting fictitious events taking place after the local elections and involving opposition’s protests followed by Russian military intervention.
Tbilisi has called on the international community to pay attention on Russia’s policies towards Georgia rather then focusing on the fake report by a television station.
“The Georgian government believes that instead of concentrating attention on violation of standards of ethics by a television station, the attention of the international community should be focused – as it is – on such real facts like Russia’s occupation, ethnic cleansing, non-fulfillment of ceasefire agreement, open actions by Russia directed towards overthrow of the democratically elected Georgian government and attempts to restore so called spheres of influence,” President’s spokesperson, Manana Manjgaladze, said on March 15.

16 Mar. '10 Britischer Botschafter äußert sich zum Imedi TV-Bericht
Denis Keefe, the British ambassador to Georgia, expressed protest about use of archive footage of him in, as he put it, “irresponsible” Imedi TV’s fake report and said it was “discourtesy” to him.
“Imedi’s use of archive footage of me speaking about real events completely unrelated to the subject of the programme was deeply misleading, as was the suggestion that the President of Georgia and the British Prime Minister had spoken about the non-existent events described,” Denis Keefe said in a statement on March 16.
The British ambassador’s archive footage, where he speaks to reporters with Georgian voiceover translation, was used in a segment of the fake report in which journalist tells viewers about a meeting of Georgian Foreign Minister with Tbilisi-based western diplomats. Archive footage of French and Czech ambassadors to Georgia was also used in the same segment.
“I wish to make clear that neither I, nor the UK Government had any involvement in or foreknowledge of an irresponsible programme that unnecessarily caused deep concern amongst the Georgian public,” Ambassador Keefe said.
“I consider Imedi TV's misuse of this footage to be a discourtesy to me as Ambassador of the United Kingdom in Georgia, reflecting badly on Georgia's reputation for responsible and independent media.”
“I would be grateful if Imedi TV would make clear as soon as possible, on air, and with the same prominence that they gave to the original report, that this footage was not genuine and that it was used without my consent or knowledge,” he said.

16 Mar. '10 Veröffentlichtes Band eines internen Telefongesprächs bei Imedi TV sorgt für neuen Streit
Controversy over Imedi TV’s fake report took a new twist on Monday evening when a taped phone conversation emerged implicating the television station’s top management in deliberately avoiding making a clear notice to viewers that the report on renewed war with Russia was fake.
The phone conversation is purportedly between Giorgi Arveladze, the head of Imedi television stations and his deputy in charge of news and political programming, Eka Tsamalashvili.
Although Arveladze did not deny that it was his voice heard in the tape, he strongly rejected authenticity of the tape by claiming that it was fabricated.
“No such conversation has ever taken place,” Arveladze told Rustavi 2 television station via phone. “It seems to be a compilation made from my various separate conversations,” he added.
“This is yet another provocation with Russian special services obviously behind it. It was posted on a website with links to Russian special services,” he said.
“I can say it with full responsibility that this taped phone conversation is totally fabricated,” he added.
Eka Tsamalashvili’s position about the taped phone conversation echoed the one of her boss saying that it was “a fabrication”, made up as a result of “a compilation of my various separate conversations.”
In the taped phone conversation a man and a woman, whose voices sound like the ones of Giorgi Arveladze and Eka Tsamalashvili, respectively, discuss details of planned broadcast of the fake report.
In the beginning of the conversation, she tells her interlocutor that the fake report seemed very realistic and if someone started watching it not from the beginning, missing a warning, the one would think that “it is true.”
“That’s how it should be,” the man responds.
She then warns the interlocutor that it would be a violation of broadcaster’s code of conduct if the broadcast had no caption on the screen indicating that the report is fiction.
“No,” the man responds. “I was speaking to Misha yesterday and he asked me if it would be aired like a regular Kronika [news bulletin on Imedi TV]. I responded positively, but told that it would be said in advance that it’s a simulation. But he told me not make an announcement in advance.”
Mentioning of “Misha” – a short form for the name Mikheil, as President Saakashvili is usually referred to – is likely to further fuel allegations that the President personally could have been behind the fake report.
Arveladze is a former government minister and a long-time ally of President Saakashvili.
Earlier on March 15 President’s spokesperson, Manana Manjgaladze, strongly denied the allegation as “absurd.”
In the phone conversation, after listening to the man’s argument about how “Misha” wanted the report to be aired, the woman expresses concern and again warns her interlocutor that without a caption and moreover without in advance notification, the report might “scare” viewers.
“Something may happen if we don’t make a notice in advance… Someone may suffer a heart attack… who will be responsible? You and me,” she says.
In an attempt to allay her concerns the man tells her that he had sent a general plot, not a detailed transcript, of a fake story in a written form to Ghia Nodia, an ex-education minister and a professor at the Tbilisi-based Ilia State University and Zurab Davitashvili, a former ruling party lawmaker and a professor of political science at the Tbilisi State University. “Both of them have replied telling me that it’s good… So everyone likes it and you can even announce that experts were also involved in making of this,” the man says.
Zurab Davitashvili, who is also a member of the Georgian public broadcaster's board of trustees, confirmed in a phone conversation with Civil.Ge that he had received a general outline of the story via e-mail.
“Yes I confirm it. But I did not know that it would have been presented to viewers in a form in which it was… I did not agree with some issues, I had my opinion, but eventually it was up to them [authors to decide],” Zurab Davitashvili said, repeating for several times that he was not aware in advance that the fake report would have ran without warning caption.
Ghia Nodia has also confirmed in a phone conversation with Maestro TV that he had seen the general plot of the story, InterPressNews agency reported.
In the end of the phone conversation the man tells his interlocutor: “In the beginning of the broadcast do not explain in very details that it’s all fake.”
Also on March 15, the Georgian National Communications Commission ruled that Imedi TV has violated law on broadcasting and a code of conduct for broadcasters and ordered the television to read the decision of GNCC in full on its primetime, 8pm news bulletin within next five days.
“We respect the decision of GNCC and agree with it. Our major priority is to do our best so that standards and ethics of journalism is protected by Imedi TV and we will try to show the best example of journalism, especially now as we are approaching local elections,” Giorgi Arveladze said.

15 Mar. '10 OSZE-Medienvertreterin Dunja Mijatovic äußert sich zum Imedi TV-Bericht
Dunja Mijatovic, a new OSCE representative on freedom of the media, said Imedi TV’s fake report on renewed war with Russia was “irresponsible journalism.”
“My mandate… does not allow me to deal with media content. However, I must underline that this particular issue is not about content; it is about irresponsible journalism and the impact it may have on media freedom and security,” she said in a statement on March 15.
The statement also says that contravening Georgian broadcasters' professional code of conduct, the report carried no clear warning that it was fictitious; only a brief notice before it began said it was a simulation of possible events.
“This incident shows that self-regulation principles and mechanisms, which are an essential tenant of freedom of speech, need to be expeditiously enhanced and strengthened. My Office is ready to assist Georgia in this endeavour," Mijatovic said.
“Broadcasters and other media outlets ought to behave responsibly and not mislead the public by spreading false information. This is of particular importance in Georgia and other countries whose societies may be more prone to alarm due to recent armed conflicts,” she added.

15 Mar. '10 Präsident Saakashvili äußert sich zum Imedi TV-Bericht
Er kritisierte, dass nicht dauerhaft eine Warnemeldung ausgestrahlt wurde, dass dieser Bericht Fiktion sei und sagte, dass die Okkupanten weiterhin an aggressiven Plänen arbeiten würden, deren Umsetzung aber irreal seien wegen der Nachhaltigkeit der staatlichen Institutionen, des Grades der Stärkung innerhalb der Gesellschaft und der Einstellung der internationalen Gemeinschaft.
A day after saying that scenario depicted in Imedi TV’s fake report on renewed war with Russia was “maximally close to reality,” President Saakashvili said on March 15 that possibility of materializing Russia’s “aggressive plans” was not real.
On March 14, Saakashvili criticized Imedi TV for not running a warning caption on the screen indicating that it was a fiction; he, however, also added: “But the major unpleasant thing about the yesterday's report - and I want everyone to realize it well - was that this report is maximally close to reality and maximally close to what may really happen.”
In a written statement released on March 15, President Saakashvili was more straightforward in condemning the television station’s fake report saying “elements contained in this program created aimless and worthless agitation.”
He also said that “this very program - as presented in such plot and form - was meaningless and even harmful to our society.”
“[The] program once again proved that it is necessary to create high standards of journalistic ethics, which on the one side will protect the principle of free speech and on the other side will protect the society from irresponsible journalists and journalism.”
“In spite of the fact that the occupying forces are still at work developing various aggressive plans against Georgia, the condition of our state institutions, the level of consolidation within our society and the attitude of the international society all make the plans of these occupying forces impossible to realize,” an English-language version of the statement posted on the President’s website reads.
The same part of the statement in its Georgian-language version is as follows: “In spite of the fact that the occupying forces are still at work developing various aggressive plans against Georgia, the sustainability of our state institutions, the level of consolidation within our society and the attitude of international society make possibility of wide-scale implementation of these plans very unreal.”
Tbilisi has also called on the international community to pay attention on Russia’s policies towards Georgia rather then focusing on the fake report by television station.
“The Georgian government believes that instead of concentrating attention on violation of standards of ethics by a television station, the attention of the international community should be focused – as it is – on such real facts like Russia’s occupation, ethnic cleansing, non-fulfillment of ceasefire agreement, open actions by Russia directed towards overthrow of the democratically elected Georgian government and attempts to restore so called spheres of influence,” President’s spokesperson, Manana Manjgaladze, said on March 15.
She has strongly denied allegations that President Saakashvili or any government representative was aware of the fake report in advance or had something to do with it.
Head of the Imedi TV is a former member of government and President Saakashvili’s long-time ally, Giorgi Arveladze. He apologized for causing "shock" by the report; he said the report did not in any way aimed at "scaring" the public and was only intended for "openly and clearly" showing those "those security threats which our country faces."
“This allegation [about involvement of the authorities] is an absurd,” Manjgaladze said. “Panic triggered by this program first of all harmed the authorities. Georgia is a democratic country and the authorities have no levers to control media. If the authorities could exercise censorship over media, which is unacceptable, it would have been the authorities’ interest to intervene and to block that program from airing.”

15 Mar. '10 Russian Außenminister veurteilt den imitierten Bericht einer erneuten russischen Invasion von Imedi TV
Imedi TV’s fake report as if Russian troops started invasion with opposition’s help was ”irresponsible and immoral, first of all, in respect of the Georgian society,” Andrei Nesterenko, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said on March 15.
“A wave of anxiety triggered in the country is quite understandable. Condemnation was voiced by Patriarch [of the Georgian Orthodox Church] Ilia II, opposition figures, human rights activists, many people expressed protest outside the [Imedi] television station’s building,” he said.
“It is widely supposed in Georgia that provocative report on the Imedi TV could not have been prepared without the Georgian authorities’ sanction,” Nesterenko added.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that President Saakashvili’s remarks that the fake report was “maximally close to what may really happen” amounted to “approval” of the report.
“A provocative TV program has caused a very concrete damage to the security and stability in the region, thus having essentially increased the degree of tension in already uneasy situation. We hope that the European monitors working in Georgia, as well as the entire international community will give a principled assessment to it,” Nesterenko said.
“Political paranoia has never brought anything good and has never solved serious problems in any state,” he added.
14 Mar. '10 Imitierter Bericht über wieder ausgebrochenen Krieg löst Panik und Zorn auf Imedi TV aus
A 30-minute long fake report by Imedi television station on Saturday evening as if Russian troops were advancing to Tbilisi triggered panic and also wave of anger on the television station, which has a nationwide broadcasting.
In a brief notice to viewers before the launch of the report, the television station told viewers it was "a simulation" of what might happen in case Russian plans materialize. As the fake report was running mobile networks crushed for several minutes as many were trying to call to find out what was happening. News agencies reported, that number of calls received by an emergency ambulance service, increased significantly at the time when the fake report was running on Imedi TV.
The report was aired by the Imedi TV's weekly program Special Report, which started just couple of minutes before 8pm - time when Imedi TV runs its usual news bulletin Kronika. Imedi TV's head is Giorgi Arveladze, former member of government and a long-time ally of President Saakashvili.
"Have you ever thought about the end of the Georgian statehood? Probably yes, because we have already seen this threat in summer, 2008," an anchor of Special Report, Natia Koberidze, said while opening the program.
She then continued: "Russia's tactic against Georgia becomes more and more dangerous. The occupying force is vigorously searching for and is finding a foothold within the Georgian political spectrum."
"We want to offer you a simulated, special bulletin of Kronika. Our viewers and invited guest [in Special Report program's studio] will see a news bulletin of probably the toughest day for Georgia, which take into view those threats which politicians and experts are discussing regularly; [a news bulletin about] how events may develop if the society is not consolidated against Russia's plans. Let's see the news bulletin about the worst future."
After these introductory remarks by the anchor, a regular 8pm news bulletin of Imedi TV, Kronika, started. The story line of the fake report focuses on post-local election period, sometime in early June, 2010; opposition, allegedly led by Nino Burjanadze and Zurab Nogaideli - the two politicians who have recently met with Russia's PM Vladimir Putin, protests against the local election results; Russia uses unrests in Georgia and intervenes militarily. The fake report culminated with announcement about President Saakashvili's "assassination" and "clashes" in outskirt of Tbilisi.
The TV station carried no sign on the screen indicating that the report was fake,
A regular anchor of 8pm Kronika opened the news bulletin with announcing that President Saakashvili would make a special statement about "the current situation in Georgia."
Then he continued: "As it was reported few minutes ago, the Russian military forces, including its tank battalion, deployed in Akhalgori [breakaway South Ossetia], declared combat readiness; it is not ruled out that they will marched towards the capital [Tbilisi]. This information caused panic in Gori, Tbilisi and other Georgian cities; residents are trying to flee Tbilisi causing traffic jams and queues at petrol stations... sabotage on strategic facilities is not ruled out."
A caption was running bellow the screen, saying: "Mobilization of the occupying forces; Akhalgori-based military unit on combat readiness."
Then a new story line came into the fake report with the news bulletin anchor announcing that "nine persons wounded as a result of unrests in Tbilisi still remain in hospital" and that four people were "killed" in those unrests.
"Unrests in Tbilisi started on June 7 after unknown persons opened fire on protesters gathered in the Tbilisi center to protest against the election results," the anchor announced.
Mentioning of "June 7" was among those few vague clues which the fake report contained indicating that it was fake, but not definitely enough, as the report was developing in such a way that it was becoming more misleading and many viewers, especially those who started watching it not from its very start, thought it was all true.
Then back in studio, the news bulletin anchor announced that the opposition parties made a joint statement "declaring the authorities as illegal and announcing about establishment of so called people's government." It was again followed by a separate fake report on details of "opposition's statement" with use of archive footage from one of the meeting of opposition leaders.
Back in the studio the anchor again repeated, about seven minutes after the launch of the news bulletin, the initial announcement that Akhalgori-based Russian military forces were on high alert and their advance towards Tbilisi was not ruled out. The anchor also added that "the Georgian troops are mobilized at the administrative border close to Akhalgori and in Ergneti village."
Then the anchor made an introduction to a new story line to the fake report, involving "life attempt" on leader of breakaway South Ossetia Eduard Kokoity. The anchor announced that Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia party and ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli, leader of Movement for Fair Georgia, "arrived in Tskhinvali" and "along with the Russian authorities, they also blamed the Georgian authorities for organizing attack on Kokoity." The announcement was followed with a report with archive footage of Tskhinvali and a journalist voiceover telling a fake story about the details of "attack on Kokoity."
After that the anchor in the studio announced that the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev summoned a national security council. A video footage of Medvedev followed accompanied with a voiceover Georgian translation as if Medvedev was saying that he was ordering his government "to neutralize threat coming from Saakashvili."
The fake story then continued from studio again with anchor announcing citing "information provided by the people's government that three battalions of the Georgian armed forces refused to support Saakashvili government and that they go under the subordination of the people's government."
The White House was also included in the fake report with the anchor announcing that President Obama "is just making a statement; here is a live footage" from Washington - again an archive footage was showed, although with caption "live" showing President Obama with Vice President Biden standing next to him; a voiceover Georgian translation gave a false quote of the U.S. President as if saying that he calls Russia "to stop military campaign" against Georgia. After that anchor also announced that Secretary of State Clinton was "on her way to Moscow."
The anchor then announced that "few minutes ago Russia conducted air strikes on Tbilisi airport... on Senaki and Gori military bases."
It was followed by "a sensational information", as the anchor put it, about "assassination of President Saakashvili." "We are not yet able to confirm this report disseminated by Nogaideli's party," the anchor said; he then added that the President's administration released a statement saying "Saakashvili is in a safe location".
The fake report was then followed by announcement that "clashes are taking place in Mtskheta", just outside Tbilisi.
After the end of this 30-minute fake story, the Special Report program continued from its studio.
"For those who have just joined us, I want to say that these were not real chronicles of today; these were possible events that may take place in early June... Kronika has offered you to imagine what should not happen," anchor of Special Report, Natia Koberidze, said.
Then the program continued in studio with large group of invited guest discussing Russia-Georgia relations and potential security threats. Only few participants of the program spoke out against the fact that the Imedi TV did not run a caption saying that the report was fake.
In the course of the program the anchor had to repeat for several times that it was "a simulation", as many viewers were phoning to the television station complaining that the TV report caused panic.
Growing protest against the fake report and signs of panic it has caused, prompted the President's administration to intervene.
About an hour after the fake report was over, Manan Manjgaladze, President Saakashvili's spokesperson, arrived in studio of the Special Report program and requested to make a statement. She said that she was instructed by President Saakashvili to come and express on his behalf "concern and alarm" about this fake report.
"There should have been a caption on the screen showing that it was simulation," she said.
Manjgaladze, herself a former anchor of Imedi TV news bulletin, said she believes the television station should apologize.
"Theoretically such things, which were shown today might be possible, but there is no real threat of that," she said.
After the program was over, the Imedi TV continuously was running a caption below the screen apologizing for the fake report.
"It aimed at obstructing Russia's aggressive plans," the caption reads.
The program was not yet over as several Facebook campaign groups emerged condemning Imedi TV. In few hours one such group attracted over 2,000 supporters and another one over 2,800.
Dozens of angry people, including some opposition politicians gathered at a spontaneous rally outside the Imedi television station. Some protesters were lashing out at some of the program guests, criticizing them for not speaking out against the fake report while participating in the discussion in studio after the report was aired.

Rustavi 2 >>

Russian TVs take interviews on behalf of Rustavi2
18.03.10 14:34
Russian journalists have performed a trick to take interview with two opponents of Putin, Valeria Novodvorskaya and Konstantin Borovoy, who usually agree only on live interviews. With the microphone and the camera having the logo of Rustavi2, some Russian television crew recorded the two experts for the documentary film about `Russian traitors`.
Valeria Novodvorskaya contacted Georgian TV Company and informed about the trick of Russian colleagues.
The two experts say they were questioned about their visit and meetings held in Tbilisi and the recent scandal about the simulated news bulletin on Imedi TV, which caused a few minute panic in the society. Novodvorskaya says she did not hide her position that she did not believe in the alleged involvement of president Saakashvili in this scandal.
`Well, I told them what I thought about this TV project and I also added that I did not believe in the involvement of Saakashvili in this scandal, because not a single president will ever enjoy to hear his army on the side of the enemy and that he has been killed. We are expecting to see an interview with some Russian TV channel taken on behalf of Rustavi2 soon,` Novodvorskaia said.

New audio record of phone conversation emerges in internet
16.03.10 19:28
New audio record of telephone conversation regaridng `simulated news bulletin Chronicle` has been released via the internet.
The new tape has been published on website copoka.net. According to the tape, President Mikheil Saakashvili talks with Culture Minister Nika Rurua, paying a visit to France.
The Minister asks the President whether the after the Imedi scandal panic has ended in Georgia. Mikheil Saakashvili answers panic lasted just for 3-5 minutes.
`Imedi TV should have warned people, subtitle should have been put on the screen indicating that the report was imitation. On the other hand, the scenario was absolutely exact. They should have not caused panic. They should have warned people it was a simulation. I have just called Arveladze and told him the same`, alleged Mikheil Saakashvili’s voice says in the tape.

Imedi director calls telephone records `fabrication`
16.03.10 11:10 Head of ‘Georgian Imedi Production Group’ Giorgi Arveladze says the telephone recording of the conversation between him and the producer of the Imedi analytical programs, Eka Tsamalashvili was fabricated.
Arveladze says the texts were supposedly composed from his different conversations.
He says that it took Russian special services two days to fabricate the conversation that had nothing to do with reality. He refutes that such a dialogue had ever taken place.
`It’s hard for me to recognize my own voice, but I don’t exclude it to be composed from different conversations. This is a provocation behind which stands Russian intelligence. ’ Arveladze added.
A telephone conversation supposedly between Giorgi Arveladze, head of the Georgian Imedi Production Group, and his deputy Eka Tsamalashvili has been spread via one of the most popular internet sites of Tbilisi ‘Forum.ge’ on 15 March. According to the tape material, Mikheil Saakashvili was not only informed about preparation of the imitated Chronicle, but he even asked Giorgi Arveladze not to put subtitle and not to explain that the report was simulation.
The audio recording of a telephone conversation allegedly between Imedi`s director Giorgi Arveladze and Eka Tsamalashvili, a producer at the station, began circulating on the Internet yesterday.
In the recording, whose authenticity could not be independently verified, Avreladze suggests Saakashvili himself ordered the broadcast of the improvised news bulletin about new Russian intervention and wanted it to look as much as possible like a real news program.

President assesses media scandal as violation of journalistic norms
15.03.10 17:56
Georgian president has assessed the improvised news program aired on Imedi TV on Saturday as the violation of norms of journalistic ethics. President`s press speaker, Manana Manjgaladze voiced the position of the president at the briefing today.
`The program aired on Imedi TV On March13, which has caused absolutely intelligible and strong emotion in the society, included elements of attempt to cause aimless and groundless chaos.
Despite the fact that the occupant country keeps on working on various aggressive plans against Georgia, the firmness of our state, the level of consolidation of our society and the approach of the international society to our country make the possibility of implementing these plans unreal.
President believes that any TV channel is free in broadcast, even in reporting provocative information, however, they should follow some standards and inform the spectators better. President calls upon Georgian media to treat similar issues with more care and treat such fragile issues with much responsibility. The Saturday program has confirmed once more that it is necessary to create the firm standards of journalistic ethic, which will protect the principle of freedom of media and on the other hand, it will protect society from irresponsible reports and reporters,` the statement says.

MPs debate on Imedi TV scandal at bureau
15.03.10 16:41
MPs debated on the improvised news bulletin broadcast on Imedi TV on Saturday, causing public panic and the protest of Georgian politicians. While the majority was condemning he irresponsible act by Media Company, the minority complained about the threat, which the country might face after this scandal. The noisy debates began after the leader of the Christian Democratic Movement; Giorgi Targamadze accused the government of being inconsistent.
`Well, actually, this government is keen to masochism. The unfortunate moment here is that such acts are harmful for state interests. The TV Company management ought to take moral and journalistic responsibility on the incident, we also hope that the regulatory commission will take reasonable decisions and impose sanctions as a preventive measure,` Targamadze said.
Parliament speaker Davit Bakradze voiced his protest to the Saturday scandal at the session of the bureau today. He said what happened in the air of Imedi on Saturday evening, was unacceptable for him.
`We all understand that situation in regards with external dangers are not so easy, but I want to be categorical and say that doing this in the way it was done, is absolutely unacceptable. It is unacceptable to shock and scare society, investors, abuse Georgian army,` Davit Bakradze said.

NDP condemns fake report by Imedi TV, demands resignation of the company director
15.03.10 15:20
National Democratic Party of Georgia condemns the fake report on new Russian invasion and demands dismissal of the director general of the company immediately. Guram Chakhvadze of the Party, voiced the position of the organization at the briefing today and said that such non-professional and unreasonable programes only affect the interests of the country and deteriorate the attitude of the society towards the political developments.
Channel Imedi prompted panic across Georgia, when it showed reportage on an alleged invasion of Russian troops.

Imedi TV director comments on Saturday scandal
15.03.10 10:40
`I take responsibility for what happened on Saturday and I am not going to point a finger at anybody,` Director General of the Imedi TV Company has said in his interview with GPB.
Giorgi Arveladze said the weekend scandal is not a reason for him to resign. He defined the goals of the improvised Chronicle news program was not to scare the society; however, he admits that it was shocking for spectators. For this scandal and panic in the society, Arveladze has publicly apologized.
U.S. ambassador John Bass has also commented on the Saturday scandal caused by improvised news program this weekend. John Bass said the news program did not meet journalistic standards.

Regulatory Commission to discuss sanctions against Imedi TV
15.03.10 10:28
The National Regulatory Commission of the Communications of Georgia will hold a special session today and discuss the sanctions to impose against the Imedi TV Company for its improvised news program aired on Saturday. Channel Imedi prompted panic across Georgia, when it showed reportage on an alleged invasion of Russian troops.
The commission will analyze the improvised news bulletin and discuss preventive measures to avoid similar situations in the future.
The commission has already sent a special statement regarding the scandalous Saturday news program. They confirmed that the TV company violated the Code of Conduct for Broadcasters and said that it was a mistake and irresponsible approach to the Code.

Leader of Georgian Labour Party demands closing of Imedi TV station
14.03.10 18:18
Leader of the Georgian Labour Party demands immediate closing of Imedi TV station and returning it to the family of the company`s former owner, late Georgian Tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili.
Natelashvili urges the UN Security Council to hold a special session in the framework of the Hague Tribunal and assign a special group for punishing those persons, who were propagandizing war on Saturday evening, when the fake report was being aired on Imedi TV. Furthermore, Shalva Natelashvilicalls on Georgia`s friend democratic countries to recall their ambassadors from Georgia until Mikheil Saakashvili`s resignation.

Georgian parliamentary majority demands explanations from Imedi TV
14.03.10 15:30
Representatives of the Georgian parliamentary majority expect clear explanations for the simulated report aired by Imedi TV station on Saturday evening. They said after the explanations are made, it will be determined on whom to lay responsibilities for the incident. The MPs also call shameful statements of the political leaders, who were negatively mentioned in the fake special report.
`This is not a part of the government`s propaganda. The report aired by the TV station was improvised. The imitated Kronika news bulletin has nothing to do with the government. Also strongly condemn the fact, that that the Georgian army was mentioned in an undesirable context in the report. It is unacceptable to say that the Georgian army betrayed its country and went over to the enemy`, Petre Tsiskarishvili, the leader of the parliamentary majority said.
`When you have an audience of millions, who experienced similar scenario several months ago and you simulate the same scenario without any specific explanations, it is completely unacceptable. The explanation made in the first part of the program, was not enough. I think, the Georgian society should receive clear explanations and after these explanations are made, we should discuss on whom to impose concrete responsibility`, Mikheil Machavariani, the deputy chair of parliament said.

Georgian opposition party members condemn fake report of Imedi TV
14.03.10 15:30
Vice Speaker of Georgian Parliament Paata Davitaia stresses three serious mistakes in the fake report aired in Imedi TV station on Saturday. Davitaia said betrayal of the army, fake interviews of the diplomatic corps and assassination of the president reported in the news bulletin are violation of law. Mps intend to discuss the issue at the plenary session of parliament on Monday. A special commission may be created for investigation of the report.
Members of the opposition Alliance for Georgia request proper assessment and investigation of the incident from international organizations. They support creating an international monitoring group, which will be controlling working of TV stations. Christian Democratic parliamentary faction also calls the fake report violation of law.
`The Alliance for Georgia strongly condemns the imitation of the Kronika news bulletin aired on Imedi TV on March 13, that has triggered hardest stress and among the Georgian population and shocked the people`, Davit Gamkrelidze, the chair of the alliance said.
`This issue should be discussed at the plenary session of parliament. A parliamentary commission should be created to investigate all this. What we saw yesterday should have legal and political assessment, what would be important for the image of our country, because the country`s image was seriously damaged with the yesterday`s report`, Paata Davitaia said.

Georgian Catholicos Patriarch calls fake TV report immorality
14.03.10 15:29
Catholicos Patriarch of all Georgia his Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II called the improvised report aired by Imedi TV station on Saturday (March 13) immorality. Ilia II said, what happened yesterday is an insult towards the whole nation and the Georgian army. The patriarch condemned the incident and called on the government to control TV reports in order to avoid similar facts in the future.
`We should not allow that any TV channel be uncontrolled and broadcast similar abominations. This report was perceived by people as reality and if something like this really happens, people will not believe it any more. Each person is insulted with this report, our army is humiliated, because it said part of the army went over to the enemy. Let`s ask God to lead us to the way of truth`, Ilia II said.

Protest rally followed fake report by Imedi TV station
14.03.10 13:46
Dozens of angry people, including some opposition politicians gathered at a spontaneous rally outside the Imedi television station after the fake report on Georgia`s intervention by Russia was aired on Saturday.
Some protesters were lashing out at some of the program guests, criticizing them for not speaking out against the fake report while participating in the discussion in studio after the report was aired. Several incidents took place at the rally.
`A person and persons should be in a very bad condition to use similar reports for propaganda. In the final analysis, the society will be affected by this`, Eka Beselia, the leader of the Solidarity for Illegal Prisoners public movement said.
`I intend to suite a file on behalf of our political party, not only because we were mentioned in the report, but because it was a criminal report from teh beginning to the very end`, Nino Burjanadze, the leader of the Democratic Movement - United Georgia said.

Georgian President`s spokesperson comments on fake report of Imedi
14.03.10 12:09
After the fake report by Imedi TV station on Saturday evening was over, Georgian President`s spokesperosn Manana Manjgaladze arrived at the studio of the Special Report program and requested to make a statement. She said that she was instructed by President Saakashvili to come and express on his behalf `concern and alarm` about this fake report.
`There should have been a caption on the screen showing that it was simulation,` she said.
Manjgaladze, herself a former anchor of Imedi TV news bulletin, said she believed the television station should apologize.
`Theoretically such things, which were shown today might be possible, but there is no real threat of that,` she said.
The spokesperson especially stressed on detail, when the special report said that a paert of teh Georgian army went over to the enemy. She said it woul be wuite huiliating for the soldiers who fought for Georgia`s territorial integrity. `We should apologize to them`, Manjgaladze said.
The 30-minute long fake report by Imedi TV station as if Russian troops were advancing to Tbilisi triggered panic and also wave of anger on the television station, which has a nationwide broadcasting,

Imedi TV station apologizes to Georgian dociety
14.03.10 12:08
Imedi TV station released a special statement regarding the incident that followed the simulated report aired by the tv-station .
`We apologize to the society for the simulated special report, which did not depict reality. The report aimed to hinder Russia carry out its aggressive plans. We apologize that the fake Kronika news program triggered concern among citizens`, the statement says.
A 30-minute long fake report by Imedi television station on Saturday evening as if Russian troops were advancing to Tbilisi triggered panic and also wave of anger on the television station, which has a nationwide broadcasting. In a brief notice to viewers before the launch of the report, the television station told viewers it was `a simulation` of what might happen in case Russian plans materialize. But in the course of the report itself the TV station carried no sign on the screen indicating that the report was fake.
The report was aired by the Imedi TV`s weekly program Special Report, which started just couple of minutes before 8pm - time when Imedi TV runs its usual news bulletin Kronika.

Georgian Communications Regulatory Commission on fake report of Imedi
14.03.10 12:05
The National Communications Regulatory Commission of Georgia has made a statement regarding the March 13 simulated news program of Imedi TV. Representatives of the commission say, the company has violated the Code of Conduct for Broadcasters.
The Communications Regulatory Commission will hold a special session regarding the March 13 simulated Kronika news program on Monday. Head of the legal department of the commission Kakhi Kurashvili said a special meeting was held on Sunday, where the incident occurred yesterday was discussed. He said, possible preventive measures will be discussed at the special session in order to prevent similar incidents by TV companies in the future.
The fake Kronika news program has been evaluated as violation of the 5th point of article 13 of the Code of Conduct for Broadcasters obliging broadcasters to put a special hallmark on similar footage and indicate that it is simulated.
A 30-minute long fake report by Imedi television station on Saturday evening as if Russian troops were advancing to Tbilisi triggered panic and also wave of anger on the television station, which has a nationwide broadcasting.
In a brief notice to viewers before the launch of the report, the television station told viewers it was `a simulation` of what might happen in case Russian plans materialize. But in the course of the report itself the TV station carried no sign on the screen indicating that the report was fake.
The report was aired by the Imedi TV`s weekly program Special Report, which started just couple of minutes before 8pm - time when Imedi TV runs its usual news bulletin Kronika.