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

11 November, 2017, 01:25 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Mikhail Fomichev  TASS

Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the State Duma, said the Parliament could back such a legislation as early as next week, arguing that some US media were attempting to turn public opinion in Russia, Reuters reported. "The demand is discriminative, it contradicts both the democracy and freedom of speech principles".

USA and any other foreign media that fall under the new restrictions could have to regularly disclose to Russian authorities full details of their funding, finances and staffing and might be obliged to say on their social media profiles and internet sites visible in Russia that they are "foreign agents".

He recalled that the US Department of Justice had sent a written notification to the TV channel's top officials regarding the need to become a foreign agent by October 17.

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.

Last month, social media giant Twitter took the unprecedented step of banning RT and Sputnik advertisements in response to allegations they were part of a Russian effort to spread misinformation during the 2016 election.

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


Russia's embassy in the USA denounced the reported Justice Department order.

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. Failure to register could result in the seizure of RT's US bank accounts and the arrest of the senior editor, Simonyan told Russian news outlets. "It deprives us of fair competition with other worldwide channels, which are not registered as foreign agents".

"Our law on foreign agents does not apply to media".

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".

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.

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". Memorial, one of Russia's oldest human rights groups, which has for three decades sought to expose Soviet mass killings and arrests, and the Levada Center, an independent polling agency, were registered as foreign agents by Russia's Ministry of Justice.

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