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.”