Russian foreign ministry says retaliation against USA media could begin next week

Randolph Lopez
November 11, 2017

A Russian senator involved in media policy, Alexei Pushkov, said those United States media organisations "should be subject to restrictions, including their services as part of cable TV packages".

State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said lawmakers will take up changes to the Russian law on foreign agents to extend it to the media. "This requirement is discriminatory, it contradicts both the principles of democracy and freedom of speech", she said.

US intelligence agencies said in January that RT and the news agency Sputnik, along with a network of "quasi-government trolls", interfered in the 2016 USA presidential election on behalf of the Russian government by pushing anti-American propaganda, claims that RT denies.

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

Tensions between the US and Russian Federation have escalated steadily since President Donald Trump came to power in January, as his campaign promises to improve relations have faltered under the pressure of mounting investigations into the allegations that Russian Federation helped secure his victory.

The US Justice Department has ordered RT to register as an agent of a foreign government by November 13, its editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said Thursday. The restrictions were criticized by the US and the European Union.

Russian Federation will adopt "broader" measures which "may include social media networks", a top pro-Kremlin MP said. Failure to register could result in the seizure of RT's USA bank accounts and the arrest of the senior editor, Simonyan told Russian news outlets.

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Charities and other civil society groups operating in Russian Federation have to register as "foreign agents" if they get any foreign funding.

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

RT, previously known as Russia Today, disputes that it is an agent of the Kremlin, arguing that it merely offers alternatives to mainstream news coverage.

That much was revealed by Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in an interview on Russian television.

"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", the Russian embassy posted.

Last Thursday, Twitter announced it would drop advertising by RT and Sputnik-owned accounts on its network due to their alleged meddling in the USA presidential election previous year.

Human rights groups have condemned the label, who say it echoes Soviet-era attacks on dissidents.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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