Russian Federation targets U.S. media in row over RT registration

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

Amid continued controversy about Russia's role in trying to influence last year's US presidential election, Twitter last month banned advertising by RT and by the state-funded Sputnik news agency. "They are planning to apply a United States law to Russia Today and Sputnik news agency", Volodin said.

Zakharova did not specify which outlets would be targeted or what the actions would be. The restrictions were criticized by the USA and the European Union.

FARA requires registration "if an agent disseminates informational materials, by mail or by any means or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce, and intends the materials to be disseminated among two or more persons".

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.

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

Russian Federation ripped the USA government on Thursday for requiring its state-sponsored news organization RT to register as a foreign agent, warning of "an immediate symmetrical response".

The Justice Department set a deadline of November 13 for RT to register as a foreign agency based on accusations that the Russian government-funded cable news network and website was a Kremlin propaganda outlet.

Twitter has already banned advertising from RT and Sputnik, another Russian news outlet.

Nikolov noted that foreign agent status implies a wide range of measures by the USA authorities, but no one knows what exactly can follow after this status is acquired.

She added: "We will continue to work and continue to fight this as long as it's possible".

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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".

"Reciprocal measures will be put in place to ensure the same restrictions as the Americans are now trying to impose on Russian media outlets", Tolstoy said.

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 unsafe precedent".

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.

Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the State Duma, said parliament could back legislation as early as next week in response to what lawmakers view as US pressure on Russian media.

"It will very much complicate the possibility of interviewing people because we will have to report this too", she said. "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".

An intelligence report in January alleged the outlet spearheaded "strategic messaging for [the] Russian government", fueling political conflicts in the US during the 2016 campaign.

RT has become a focus of the USA investigations into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The 2012 Russian law now applies only to non-governmental organizations that receive foreign funding and are considered to engage in political activity. 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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