Bangkok Post
Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Georgian opposition on Sunday denounced a mock television report of a Russian invasion as government-sponsored propaganda aimed at smearing President Mikheil Saakashvili’s critics.

“This government’s treatment of its own people is outrageous. I am sure that every second of this programme was agreed with Saakashvili. Many people suffered psychological trauma,” opposition leader Nino Burjanadze told AFP.

“Every word about me was malicious slander and I will sue both Imedi television and the authorities,” said Burjanadze, who heads the Democratic Movement-United Georgia party.

The report, aired Saturday night on privately owned Imedi television, sparked brief panic in ex-Soviet Georgia as viewers feared a repeat of the August 2008 war that saw Russian troops pour into Georgia and bomb targets across the country.

Showing footage from the war, the report said Russian tanks were headed for the capital Tbilisi and that Saakashvili had been killed.

A brief notice before the report said it was a “simulation” of possible events but the report itself appeared genuine and carried no warning it was a fake.

Full story here.