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Georgia's opposition parliamentary Christian Democratic Party has called for the creation of an ad hoc parliament commission to assess the authenticity of two tape-recorded telephone conversations relating to the screening on March 13 by the pro-government television station Imedi of a fake news report about a purported new Russian invasion.

Senior pro-government legislators said on March 19 there is no need for such a probe as the tape recordings in question were without doubt fabricated by Russia's Federal Security Service. One of the conversations implies that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili may have been behind the undertaking.

On March 25, seven opposition political figures who were branded as "traitors" in that report in light of their imputed collaboration with Moscow issued a joint statement demanding a formal apology from Imedi General Director Giorgi Arveladze and from the journalists responsible for the program, Caucasus Press reported.

The seven are former Prime Minister and For A Just Georgia leader Zurab Noghaideli; Conservative Party leaders Zviad Dzidziguri and Kakha Kukava; People's Party leader Koba Davitashvili; former parliament speaker Nino Burjanadze, who heads the Movement for United Georgia; and former presidential candidate Levan Gachechiladze and Giorgi Khaindrava, the leaders of the Defend Georgia movement.

They claim the program violated the Georgian Constitution, the law on broadcasting, and the Broadcasters' Code of Conduct.

NATO spokesman James Appathurai told a press conference in Brussels on March 24 that "from NATO's point of view this hoax television broadcast was unwise, unhelpful and, let's say, not seen positively within NATO."

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.


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