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French Ambassador on Fake TV Report
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 16 Mar.'10 / 23:26

French ambassador in Tbilisi, Eric Fournier, complained on March 16 about footage of him used in Imedi TV's fake report.

In a letter sent to the head of the television stations, Giorgi Arveladze, the French diplomat said he was "surprised" to see archive footage of him speaking about the events completely unrelated to the subject of the fictitious report, which he said was "completely irresponsible" broadcast.

He also said that the case has "harmed the reputation" of the Imedi TV station and raised fundamentation questions, which should be address by the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC).

The commission ordered the broadcaster on March 15 to again apologize and also to read out in its primetime news bulletin GNCC's decision in full saying that Imedi violated broadcaster's code of conduct and law on broadcasting.

The French ambassador’s archive footage, where he speaks to reporters with Georgian voiceover translation, was used in a segment of the fake report in which journalist tells viewers about a meeting of Georgian Foreign Minister with Tbilisi-based western diplomats to brief them about the details of Russia's military intervention. Archive footage of the British and Czech ambassadors to Georgia were also used in the same segment.

Denis Keefe, the British ambassador to Georgia, expressed protest about use of archive footage of him and said it was “discourtesy” to him.

U.S. ambassador, John Bass, said on March 14: "I do not think that type of broadcast, frankly even if it had an indication that it was fiction, is particularly constructive at this point in time to help Georgia address real problems and threats to security it faces."

Dunja Mijatovic, a new OSCE representative on freedom of the media, said the fake TV report was “irresponsible journalism.”

EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) warned against such "irresponsible" reports and said on March 16, that it “has the potential to seriously destabilize the situation” in areas close to breakaway regions.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it was "political paranoia", which had caused "a very concrete damage to the security and stability in the region."

The Georgian President's administration has called on the international community to pay attention on Russia’s policies towards Georgia rather then focusing on the fake report by a 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.

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