Russian Federation targets USA media in row over RT registration

Zurab Dzhavakhadze  TASS

Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the State Duma, said the Parliament could back such a legislation as early as next week, arguing that some USA media were attempting to turn public opinion in Russia, Reuters reported.

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.

"It contradicts both the democracy and freedom of speech principles".

Russia's parliament warned on Friday some us and other foreign media could be declared "foreign agents" and obliged to regularly declare full details of their funding, finances and staffing. "I don't rule out it will be done next week", she said in the interview according to the state-run news wire TASS.

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 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.

The U.S. action against RT was taken after U.S. intelligence agencies accused Russian Federation of trying to interfere in last year's U.S. presidential election to help President Donald Trump win the White House, something Moscow has denied.




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

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

"Every media now has its own pages in social networks, which also publish their news, articles and videos".

RT, previously known as Russia Today, disputes that it is an agent of the Kremlin, arguing that it merely offers alternatives to mainstream news coverage.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled that he would sign such a law last month, when he told a conference of foreign policy scholars that Russia would respond immediately and reciprocally to "any efforts to limit our mass media".

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. Groups on the list are subject to tight scrutiny by officials and must place the words "foreign agent" on all their publications, a label that recalls Soviet-era denunciations of spies and fifth-columnists.

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