Fake "News" About Russian Invasion Sparks Panic

A pro-government television station in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia broadcast a fake, half-hour news report depicting a Russian military invasion of the country, sending fear and panic throughout Georgian citizens. The station called the broadcast a "simulation" of what a new invasion might look like. In August, 2008 Russian tanks, troops and armored vehicles invaded Georgia after Georgian troops attacked pro-Russian separatists in the breakaway republic of South Ossetia. The fake news show used footage of Georgians fleeing that 2008 conflict, and sound bites from Russian presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Throughout the broadcast, a news anchor provided "updates" saying Russian forces had bombed a military base and an airport in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, and reported on the number of deaths. The broadcast ended with a note that the events were not real, but the station did not run any on-screen notes during the rest of the show to make viewers aware that what they were watching wasn't real. Two hours after the show, the TV station ran an apology.