On March 10-11, several online editions spread the information based on Facebook user Mikheil Sharvashidze’s post, as if the Georgian citizens who travelled back from Italy on a special flight, used violence against a bus driver on their way to Sachkhere hospital, where they should have been quarantined for two weeks. According to the reports, they ran away, while the officers of the patrol police had to bring them back by the use of force. The portals presa.ge, lidertv.ge, gadacema.ge published articles on the subject.
Based on the post published on Mikheil Sharvashidze’s personal Facebook page, it appeared that it was a patrol police officer who informed him about the attempt of escape of Georgian citizens flown in from Italy.
The information is false. The published articles do not indicate a source other than Facebook user Mikheil Sharvashidze. Mikheil Sharvashidze himself has already deleted the post and explained, that his information was unrelated to the passengers travelled back from Italy on a special flight. The Ministry of Internal Affairs also denies the information. However, Georgian online media has not corrected the articles. One of the portals spreading the information, gadacema.ge, is a clickbait web page registered on March 2, which attracts users’ attention by striking titles and visual effects. Dissemination of similar articles is aimed at 1. deriving economic benefits and 2. sowing panic among the population. The 2 articles are accompanied by a manipulative photo, which depicts a completely other case and creates the false impression, as if it is the illustration of Sachkhere incident.
When spreading the information, the online media solely relied on Mikheil Sharvashidze’s Facebook post and none of them has checked the information through the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Mikheil Sharvashidze has already deleted the post and explained in the comments on his personal Facebook page, that the story written by him happened a few days earlier.
Public Relations Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs denied the information in the conversation with “Myth Detector”. “It is not a myth. It is a lie”, the Ministry of Internal Affairs stated.
Two of the three published articles (presa.ge, gadacema.ge) are illustrated with a photo, showing the patrol police crew and ambulance. However, the photo does not reflect the story given in the article. It depicts the incident, which took place in Lanchkhuti on March 10, when the ambulance and patrol police car crashed into each other near “Medalpha” clinic. The photo creates the impression that the fact described in the article has actually happened, and misleads the reader.
Gadacema.ge publishes the articles of informational content and positions itself as a media, although it is a clickbait site, which makes money according to the amount of clicks. The “yellow” headlines of the information placed on the site and pseudoscientific advertisements containing point to this fact. According to Registrator.ge’s data, the web page was registered on March 2, 2020 and its owner is the person named sabir qiarimovi.
Prepared by Nestan Ananidze
Myth Detector Lab