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.
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.”