15 March 2010, 11:51
Georgian Patriarch slams Imedi TV provocation
Tbilisi, March 15, Interfax – Catholicos Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia expressed indignation and condemned actions of the Imedi TV company that mocked people.
Ilia II said at a Sunday Liturgy in the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Tbilisi that "we slam such programs."
"I urge the authorities to pay attention to what has happened. It's absolutely impossible to leave any TV channel without control," the Patriarch stressed.
According to him, people were disoriented and believed it, thus the TV company insulted every person, insulted the army.
On March 13, Imedi broadcasted news that Russia had invaded Georgia, bombed its airports and ports, that three Georgian battalions had joined the Russians and President Mikhail Saakashvili was dead. The report, which also contained a simulated address by the Russian president ordering intervention of Georgia, was aired on the regular 8 p.m. bulletin.
The report sparked panic in Georgia with Imedi not making it immediately clear that the report was "only a simulation of how events might unfold." The Georgian emergency services received an unusually high number of calls in the ensuing minutes. The report was sharply criticized by the Georgian opposition and dozens of people gathered to protest in front of the Imedi building in Tbilisi.
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