Russian Federation crafting new law forcing USA media to register as 'foreign agents'

RT Chief Editor Margarita Simonyan

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

RT's chief editor, Margarita Simonyan, said the outlet would register by the deadline but planned to challenge the decision in a USA court. "We consider its demand as a wish to eliminate an alternative source of information, which is an unacceptable violation of the global norms of free press", the statement said. Such a registration would require any reporting to be labeled as being financed or influenced by the Russian government, among other restrictions. "In relation to websites of foreign mass media, which are not registered in Russian Federation as mass media but which spread public, socially significant information, these measures also will apply", state news agency Tass quoted Alexander Zharov, head of the government's media oversight agency Roskomnadzor, as saying.

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.

He said some US media in Russian Federation were trying to turn USA public opinion against Moscow.

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

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

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"Every media now has its own pages in social networks, which also publish their news, articles and videos".

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. Simonyan said that RT will comply, otherwise she could be arrested and the news outlet's accounts frozen.

Simonyan said the head of RT's US subsidiary risked detention and the organization's bank accounts could be frozen if it didn't register.

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.

"The Russian side has repeatedly warned that any measures limiting activity of the Russian mass media in the United States will inevitably trigger an immediate symmetrical response, as provided for in the Russian legislation", the Russian Embassy in the U.S.

The broadcaster, RT, reported Thursday that the U.S. Department of Justice has demanded the registration be done by Monday.

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