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05:15 GMT +3 hours19 December 2014
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Georgians panic over mock TV news report of Russian invasion

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A Georgian television station sparked panic throughout Georgia on Saturday by broadcasting a fake news item about a supposed invasion of Russian troops and murder of President Mikheil Saakashvili

A Georgian television station sparked panic throughout Georgia on Saturday by broadcasting a fake news item about a supposed invasion of Russian troops and murder of President Mikheil Saakashvili.

The program, called Special Report, was shown on the private Imedi TV channel on Saturday evening.

The broadcast, which used the channel's normal news graphics, began with a warning that the program showed a sequence of possible events that could occur "if Georgian society is not brought together against Russia's plans."

"We start the broadcast on account of the dangers that politicians and experts systematically discuss," the presenter said ahead of a news item about the supposed invasion and murder of Saakashvili.

The news item included clips of panicked residents trying to flee Tbilisi and reported that there was panic in Gori, Mtskheta and other regions.

The staged images and words rung true, however, when viewers who did not see the introduction took the report at face value. People from all over the country began to call each other and the TV studio to find out what was really happening.

The program continued with a discussion on whether such a series of events was possible.

TBILISI, March 13 (RIA Novosti)