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Saakashvili Attacks Ivanishvili over His TV’s War Anniversary News Report Blunder

09.08.2012

Civil Georgia

President Saakashvili seized upon Bidzina Ivanishvili-funded television station’s August war-related gaffe and said that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin was “patron” of the Georgian Dream opposition coalition leader and “his slaves”.

When reporting about the August war anniversary on August 8 and giving a background information about those events, a newscaster of the Channel 9 TV station’s noon news bulletin read out a text from one of the Georgian news agencies, saying: “Military hostilities were launched on August 7, 2008 between Ossetian separatists, backed by the Russian troops, and the Georgian army. Russia, which legally brought into the region its army units and military hardware, formally engaged in the war on August 8.”

In its 3pm news bulletin the television station apologized for reporting that Russia deployed troops legally, blaming mistake on a news agency, whose text a newscaster was reading. The news agency, GHN, said it made a mistake by not putting the word legally in scare quotes.

“Channel 9’s newsroom apologizes for reading out a text prepared by a news agency without verifying and checking it. At the same time the Channel 9 wants to specify that it does not share such formulation of the text,” a newscaster of TV station’s news bulletin announced.

Channel 9 was not the only TV station which read out this text; Imedi TV’s journalist used the same text, saying that Russian troops were deployed “legally”, while delivering live report in Imedi TV’s 11am news bulletin on August 7. Imedi TV is co-owned by Saakashvili’s ally and former economy minister Giorgi Arveladze.

Speaking in the Black Sea port of Poti, which was one of the targets of Russia’s air strikes during the August war four years ago, President Saakashvili said later on August 8: “This morning one of the political party’s television channel announced that Russian forces… were completely legally operating on the Georgian territory.”

“We are a democratic state and they can think whatever they want; they can say whatever they want, no matter how horrible and disgusting it might be,” Saakashvili said. “But shouldn’t you have at least slight of decency not to say something like this on the day when we all should be paying respect to our fallen compatriots? These people have not even a slight sense of solidarity.”

“Not a single law bans to speak and think this way, but not a single law bans us to express what we think about these people,” he continued.

“One thing is to hate you government and it’s another issue to justify aggression against your own country and to justify an attempt of conquering and destroying your country,” he said.

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