Russian Federation to amend law to classify U.S. media 'foreign agents'

11 November, 2017, 01:23 | Author: Malcolm Fuller
  • Mikhail Fomichev  TASS

It's been revealed that Russian agents used U.S-based social media platforms to spread false information created to help boost Donald Trump's candidacy, and several people involved in President Trump's campaign are being investigated by the Justice Department over possible collusion with Russia.

RT's chief editor, Margarita Simonyan, said the outlet would register by the deadline but planned to challenge the decision in a US court. "This requirement is discriminatory, it contradicts both the principles of democracy and freedom of speech", she said.

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

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 government of Russian Federation in a tit-for-tat response to U.S. "Since such decisions are being made on USA territory in relation to our TV channels, it will be right for us to respond to these actions".

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.

Pyotr Tolstoy, a deputy speaker of the State Duma, suggested that one possibility is that media outlets affected by the new law could be required to include a statement identifying themselves as foreign agents on their social media pages. Simonyan said that RT will comply, otherwise she could be arrested and the news outlet's accounts frozen.

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USA government-sponsored Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) said last month Moscow had threatened to brand their Russian language service projects "foreign agents" in retaliation for US pressure on RT.

Russian Federation in 2012 passed a controversial law that requires foreign funded non-governmental organizations to register as foreign agents.

Russia said last month it had dropped accusations against CNN International of violating Russian media law and that the USA channel could continue broadcasting in Russia.

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.

RT began operations in 2005 under the brand Russia Today, claiming to present the Russian view on global news and to cover stories ignored by mainstream Western news media.

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". 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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