Russian Federation to amend law to classify media as 'foreign agents'

Russian Federation to amend law to classify media as 'foreign agents'

Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the State Duma, said parliament could back legislation as early as next week in response to what lawmakers view as US pressure on Russian media.

RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said a failure to register could mean the arrest of the channel's American director and the freezing of its accounts. "We consider its demand as a wish to eliminate an alternative source of information, which is an unacceptable violation of the worldwide norms of free press", the statement said.

Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the lower house of parliament, said Friday he had ordered a committee to develop a counter-response "to allow us to take steps to protect the citizens of our country and our country itself from overt interference" of U.S. media in Russian Federation.

Russia plans new measures to restrict USA 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.

This is not the first time Russian Federation has criticized the US for taking actions against its media outlets.

"These are not media, but propaganda tools with 100 percent funding from the USA budget", Pushkov was quoted as saying.

A Russian senator involved in media policy, Alexei Pushkov, said those U.S. media organisations "should be subject to restrictions, including their services as part of cable TV packages".




Last month, Russian officials sent letters to news organizations in Russia that are backed by the USA government, warning them of possible "restrictions".

"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, as provided for in the Russian legislation", the Russian Embassy in the U.S. Failure to register could result in the seizure of RT's US bank accounts and the arrest of the senior editor, Simonyan told Russian news outlets.

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

The Justice Department set a deadline of November 13 for RT to register as a foreign agency based on accusations that the Russian government-funded cable news network and website was a Kremlin propaganda outlet.

Last Thursday, Twitter announced it would drop advertising by RT and Sputnik-owned accounts on its network due to their alleged meddling in the USA presidential election a year ago.

It was not clear how this label would apply to USA media and how it would potentially affect their work, or how many media outlets would be affected.

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

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