European Union condemns Russian 'foreign agent' media law as 'threat'

28 November, 2017, 01:12 | Author: Delbert Rhodes
  • Mikhail Metzel  TASS

It will now allow Moscow to force foreign media to brand news they provide to Russians as the work of "foreign agents" and to disclose their funding sources.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a new law to allow his government to list any global media operating in the country as a "foreign agent" in retaliation towards the U.S. government's tirade against Russian broadcaster RT.

USA intelligence officials have accused the Kremlin of using Russian media organizations it finances to influence US voters, and Washington has since required Russian state broadcaster RT to register a USA -based affiliate company as a "foreign agent".

Putin signed the bill into law Saturday after the upper chamber of the Russian parliament adopted it Wednesday. Russia's new and retaliatory law went quickly into effect and can be reviewed in its entirety on Russia's legislative database.

According to the USA intelligence community, RT's American channel is staffed, supervised, and financed by the Kremlin, and "has substantially expanded its repertoire of programming that highlights criticism of alleged United States shortcomings in democracy and civil liberties" in an effort to influence Americans.

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The worldwide rights organization Amnesty global has said the legislation would deal a "serious blow" to media freedom in Russia, although Russian officials have said it would not apply to domestic media. It's yet not clear if Russian Federation will target traditional USA news organizations as well.

The US government and intelligence community both accused RT, formerly known as Russia Today, of being a propaganda outlet for the Kremlin and of spreading false information during the 2016 presidential election.

In a November 15 statement, RFE/RL said the "situation regarding Russian media in the US and USA media in Russia remains vastly unequal". However, it would not apply to Russian media outlets backed by foreign capital.

Putin and the Kremlin have repeatedly denied meddling in the election, and claim the DOJ's pressure on Russian broadcasters is an attack on free speech.

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