Russian Federation prepares to label U.S. media as 'foreign agents'

Posted November 11, 2017

Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also said on Thursday Russia was considering hitting the USA for the deadline.

"It deprives us of fair competition with other global channels, which are not registered as foreign agents", said RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan.

"This requirement is discriminatory, it contradicts the principles of democracy and freedom of speech, it does not give us equal competition with other foreign TV channels that work in America without being registered as foreign agents", she said.

Russia's parliament warned on Friday some USA and other foreign media could be declared "foreign agents" and obliged to regularly declare full details of their funding, finances and staffing.

He recalled that the US Department of Justice had sent a written notification to the TV channel's top officials regarding the need to become a foreign agent by October 17.

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Volodin said Russian Federation could extend its own law on foreign agents to foreign media in response to Washington's "hostile" actions.

Russia plans new measures to restrict US media working here after a Russian English-language TV channel said it was pressured into registering as a foreign agent in the United States, a senior legislator said Friday.

"These are not media, but propaganda tools with 100 percent funding from the US budget", Pushkov was quoted as saying. Simonyan said that RT will comply, otherwise she could be arrested and the news outlet's accounts frozen.

The 2012 Russian law now applies only to non-governmental organizations that receive foreign funding and are considered to engage in political activity.

Russian influence in the USA has come under increasing scrutiny in the months following the 2016 presidential elections.

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"The Russian side has repeatedly warned that any measures limiting activity of the Russian mass media in the United States will inevitably trigger an immediate symmetrical response", the Russian embassy posted.

In the past, Russian Federation has threatened to target Radio Free Europe and the Voice of America, both of which receive US government funding.

Russian news media reported in October that the upper house of the Russian parliament had drawn up a blacklist of at least five USA media outlets whose activities in Russia could be restricted in response.

Russia's embassy in the USA denounced the reported Justice Department order.

Human rights groups have condemned the label, who say it echoes Soviet-era attacks on dissidents.

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