Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

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

Russian state-owned television station RT logo is seen at the window of the company's office in Moscow on Oct. 27 2017 Russian state-owned television station RT logo is seen at the window of the company's office in Moscow on Oct. 27 2017
Howard Terry | 11 November, 2017, 00:58

The Justice Department gave RT America, the USA arm of the Russian company, until Monday to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, RT's editor said Thursday.

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

The Duma is obliged to give its laws two preliminary approvals before passing them, which Volodin said could happen next week.

Pyotr Tolstoy, deputy speaker of the Duma in charge of information policy, said on his Facebook account that the retaliatory measures might also be applied to foreign social media networks.

The speaker of the Russian parliament warned on Friday that media from the United States and other countries could be declared "foreign agents" and thus be compelled to declare full details of their finances as well as their funding and staffing.

Russian Federation is poised to list US media outlets as "foreign agents" by extending legislation used to restrict the activities of civil society groups, in retaliation for an American order requiring state broadcaster RT to register for a similar status. The restrictions were criticized by the US and the European Union. "It deprives us of fair competition with other worldwide channels, which are not registered as foreign agents".

"When it comes down to a fight with no rules, when the law is twisted and turned into an instrument for the destruction of a TV company, every step against a Russian media outlet will be met with a corresponding response", she said.

Washington has been fighting what it calls a barrage of "fake news" from Russian media, including RT and the Sputnik news agency, which it says is aimed at interfering in USA domestic politics.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment to The Post on Thursday.

The US Justice Department has ordered RT to register as an agent of a foreign government by November 13, its editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said Thursday.

RT has been singled out as a propaganda outlet in the wake of alleged Russian meddling in the USA presidential vote.

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

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

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