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

11 November, 2017, 00:59 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • Mikhail Fomichev  TASS

The law has been criticized as a way for the Russian government to marginalize civil society institutions.

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

Volodin's address to the Duma signaled that the Russian government now plans to treat US media in Russia as agents of the United States seeking to meddle in Russian affairs.

He said the Duma may consider a draft on Wednesday.

According to the BBC, media such as CNN, Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty were named as possible targets for the new law.

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

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

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.

Deputy speaker Sergei Neverov said the amendments would also refer to social networks.

Russia is preparing "reciprocal measures" against United States media after Washington ordered Kremlin-backed news Russia Today to register as a foreign agent.


The Justice Department had first called for RT America to register as a foreign agent in September. In short, in this situation the company would not be able to work.

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

RT denies that it is an agent of the Russian government and says on its site that it offers "stories overlooked by mainstream media" and "alternative perspectives".

Lawmakers said the measures targeting U.S. media would be "reciprocal" and would set the same limitations that United States authorities were seeking to impose on Russian media.

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".

In the past, the ministry also has mentioned CNN, which does not receive USA government funds, but is a frequent target of criticism by the Russian government for what it says is anti-Russian bias in its reporting.

That much was revealed by Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in an interview on Russian television.

The U.S. intelligence agencies allege that RT served as a tool for the Kremlin to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The assessment also said RT America "has positioned itself as a domestic US channel and has deliberately sought to obscure any legal ties to the Russian government, " but behind the scenes, "the Kremlin staffs RT and closely supervises RT's coverage, recruiting people who can convey Russian strategic messaging due to their ideological beliefs". 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.

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