Russian President Signs 'Foreign Agents' Media Legislation

Lena Tucker
Ноября 28, 2017

File Picture: U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang, Vietnam November 11, 2017.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law on Saturday new measures allowing authorities to list foreign media outlets as "foreign agents" in response to what Moscow says is unacceptable US pressure on Russian media. The law is intended as direct retaliation for the new USA requirement that the Kremlin-backed RT news outlet register as a foreign agent with the Justice Department - which the website and television channel finally did earlier this month.

The bill is based on the 2012 law that forced NGOs to adopt a "foreign agent" label if they receive funding from overseas.

It said it had written to the USA government-sponsored Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), along with seven separate Russian or local-language news outlets run by RFE/RL.

Russian officials have called the new legislation a "symmetrical response" to what they describe as US pressure on Russian media.

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The U.S. government-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty were among those on the list. As told by USA Today, under Putin's law, major networks such as CNN will be declared foreign agents and required to register in Russian Federation as such.

RFE/RL was among several media outlets that Russian officials warned could be labeled a foreign agent, a list that also included the Voice of America (VOA), CNN, and Germany's worldwide broadcaster, Deutsche Welle.

Russian officials repeatedly stated that the measure was a tit-for-tat response after the United States made a similar move targeting Russia's foreign broadcaster RT, formerly Russia Today, and the Sputnik news agency.

RT's influence in America has come under closer scrutiny following Russia's attempts to interfere in last year's US presidential election, particularly since the USA intelligence community highlighted the network's role in that interference last January. The broadcaster said it would challenge the requirement in court.

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