Hoax News Report Rocks Georgia

By Andrew Gauthier 

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Associated Press

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. More…

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