Russia Acts to Name US Media as 'Foreign Agents' in RT Dispute

Russia Acts to Name US Media as 'Foreign Agents' in RT Dispute

Russia Acts to Name US Media as 'Foreign Agents' in RT Dispute

The Duma earlier this year launched an investigation into whether CNN, Voice of America, Radio Liberty and "other American media" were complying with Russian law.

On RT's English language site, Simonya described the timeline as a "cannibalistic deadline", and wrote: "We believe that the demand does not only go against the law, and we will prove it in court - the demand is discriminative, it contradicts both the democracy and freedom of speech principles".

State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said lawmakers will take up changes to the Russian law on foreign agents to extend it to the media.

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

The Russian media outlets would have to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires persons acting in "political or quasi-political capacity" for foreign interests to disclose information, funding and activities. The restrictions were criticized by the USA and the European Union. According to CBS, "failure to register could mean the arrest of the channel's American director and the freezing of its accounts".

The status, which applies to several state-owned outlets operating in the US including Japan's NHK and the China Daily newspaper, requires disclosure of the media organization's foreign funding.

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The measures could apply to United States government funded Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, as well private broadcaster CNN.

The government of Russian Federation in a tit-for-tat response to U.S.

The Department of Justice originally set a November 13 deadline for RT to register as a foreign agent in the wake of the federal and congressional probes into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign. "It deprives us of fair competition with other worldwide channels, which are not registered as foreign agents".

In a statement posted to its Facebook account Thursday night, the Russian Embassy in the United States said the Justice Department's decision "created a risky precedent".

"... While RT is able to work and distribute its content freely in the U.S., RFE/RL has lost all of its broadcast affiliates in Russian Federation due to administrative pressure, it has no access to cable TV, and its reporters are beaten and harassed", Levison said in an emailed comment.

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

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