Dunja Mijatovic, a new OSCE representative on freedom of the media, said Imedi TV’s fake report on renewed war with Russia was “irresponsible journalism.”
“My mandate… does not allow me to deal with media content. However, I must underline that this particular issue is not about content; it is about irresponsible journalism and the impact it may have on media freedom and security,” she said in a statement on March 15.
The statement also says that contravening Georgian broadcasters' professional code of conduct, the report carried no clear warning that it was fictitious; only a brief notice before it began said it was a simulation of possible events.
“This incident shows that self-regulation principles and mechanisms, which are an essential tenant of freedom of speech, need to be expeditiously enhanced and strengthened. My Office is ready to assist Georgia in this endeavour," Mijatovic said.
“Broadcasters and other media outlets ought to behave responsibly and not mislead the public by spreading false information. This is of particular importance in Georgia and other countries whose societies may be more prone to alarm due to recent armed conflicts,” she added.