With memories of the 2008 Russia-Georgia War still fresh in their minds, Georgians felt a sense of déjà vu as a TV station reported about an ongoing Russian invasion. The news, which turned out to be bogus, sent people into panic mode, swamping communication lines with queries about the purported invasion.
Imedi network also reported that the Georgian president has been killed in the invasion, causing fear among residents, who 18 months ago saw Russian tanks roll into Georgian territory.
Imedi TV owner George Arveladze later apologized for the undesirable effect of what he called an experiment by the station to see how people would react if the president were killed in the event of an invasion. The pro-government station was also trying to see how opposition politicians would react to the killing of the president, the station said.
A disclaimer was showed before the fictitious news report was aired but people apparently did not digest the purpose of the experiment well. The Georgian opposition said that it may sue the TV station for causing panic.