Russian foreign ministry says retaliation against U.S. media could begin next week

Russian state-owned television station RT logo is seen at the window of the company's office in Moscow on Oct. 27 2017

Russian state-owned television station RT logo is seen at the window of the company's office in Moscow on Oct. 27 2017

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

RT's chief editor, Margarita Simonyan, said the outlet would register by the deadline but planned to challenge the decision in a US court.

Russia's parliament warned on Friday some us and other foreign media could be declared "foreign agents" and obliged to regularly declare full details of their funding, finances and staffing. "This requirement is discriminatory, it contradicts both the principles of democracy and freedom of speech", she said.

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

This is not the first time Russian Federation has criticized the USA for taking actions against its media outlets.

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.

Russian Federation in 2012 passed a controversial law that requires foreign funded non-governmental organizations to register as foreign agents. The restrictions were criticized by the USA and the European Union.


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.

The Department of Justice originally set a November 13 deadline for RT to register as a foreign agent in the wake of the federal and congressional probes into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.

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.

Russia said last month it had dropped accusations against CNN International of violating Russian media law and that the US channel could continue broadcasting in Russia.

"... While RT is able to work and distribute its content freely in the U.S., RFE/RL has lost all of its broadcast affiliates in Russian Federation due to administrative pressure, it has no access to cable TV, and its reporters are beaten and harassed", Levison said in an emailed comment.

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 lawmakers say they are planning a quick approval of legal amendments that would allow a quid pro quo response to a US demand to the Russian government-funded broadcaster RT to register as a foreign agent.

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