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Russian parliament mulls response to U.S. move on RT

11 November, 2017, 01:23 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Mikhail Fomichev  TASS

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a news briefing that Russia was now considering retaliatory measures against USA media outlets.

"It deprives us of fair competition with other worldwide channels, which are not registered as foreign agents", said RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan. "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.

State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said Friday the lower house of parliament will amend the law on foreign agents to include foreign media.

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

"Our law on foreign agents doesn't apply to media but since they are taking such measures against our channels in the USA, we should respond to these unfriendly acts", Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the lower house of parliament, said Friday in comments posted on the State Duma's website.

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 US budget", Pushkov was quoted as saying.

Moscow responds to a USA demand for RT to register in this category in America.

Russian influence in the US has come under increasing scrutiny in the months following the 2016 presidential elections.

In the past, Russian Federation has threatened to target Radio Free Europe and the Voice of America, both of which receive US government funding.

In case of failure to comply with this demand within this period of time, the bank accounts of RT America can be frozen, while its head could face arrest.

Russian news media reported in October that the upper house of the Russian parliament had drawn up a blacklist of at least five US media outlets whose activities in Russia could be restricted in response.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled that he would sign such a law last month, when he told a conference of foreign policy scholars that Russia would respond immediately and reciprocally to "any efforts to limit our mass media".

It was not clear how this label would apply to US media and how it would potentially affect their work, or how many media outlets would be affected. Groups on the list are subject to tight scrutiny by officials and must place the words "foreign agent" on all their publications, a label that recalls Soviet-era denunciations of spies and fifth-columnists.

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