Vladimir Putin Signs Bill Targeting International Media Outlets
28 November, 2017, 01:13 | Author: Patty Aguilar
In a tit-for-tat move to a demand made by the U.S.to a Kremlin-funded TV channel, Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill allowing Russia to register global media outlets as foreign agents. The move is Russia's retaliation after state-funded RT television was registered with the U.S. Justice Department as a foreign agent following pressure from Washington.
The letters did not specify what potential restrictions they could face, but lawmakers have said designated media could be subjected to detailed financial-reporting requirements and required to label published material as coming from a foreign agent.
The new law was published on Russia's official legal information Internet portal on November 25.
Russia's move against USA media is part of the fallout from allegations that Russian Federation interfered in last year's US presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.
Putin signed the bill into law Saturday after the upper chamber of the Russian parliament adopted it Wednesday.
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.
Exactly how (or if) these dueling "foreign agent" designations will actually affect news outlets operating in the US or Russian Federation is not yet clear.
Russian officials have called the new legislation a "symmetrical response" to what they describe as USA pressure on Russian media.
"RT and Sputnik distribute freely in the US, whereas RFE/RL has lost its broadcast affiliates in Russian Federation due to administrative pressures, and has no access to cable", it said.
USA intelligence officials have accused the Kremlin of using Russian media sources to interfere in the presidential election. In September - amid growing political pressure in Washington to do more in response to Russia's election-meddling - the USA told RT it would need to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, a 1938 law passed to limit the reach of pro-Nazi propaganda in America. "RFE/RL reporters are subject to harassment and even physical attack in Russian Federation".
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