Putin Targets US Media Outlets With 'Foreign Agent' Law

Alan Olson
November 28, 2017

In a tit-for-tat move to a demand made by the U.S.to a Kremlin-funded TV channel, Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill allowing Russia to register global media outlets as foreign agents.

While the U.S. Justice Department's requirement for RT to register as a foreign agent is largely formal, requiring little more than registering and maintaining accurate records, Russia's icy leader has taken offence and is unamused.

The measure was unanimously passed in the lower and upper chambers of parliament on November 15 and November 22, respectively. It will now allow Moscow to force foreign media to brand news they provide to Russians as the work of "foreign agents" and to disclose their funding sources.

Last week, it published a list of several outlets that would likely be affected by the new law, including US-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Europe.

According to the USA intelligence community, RT's American channel is staffed, supervised, and financed by the Kremlin, and "has substantially expanded its repertoire of programming that highlights criticism of alleged United States shortcomings in democracy and civil liberties" in an effort to influence Americans.

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Russia's anti-media law is not the first time this month the country has painted groups as so-called foreign agents. It's yet not clear if Russian Federation will target traditional USA news organizations as well. However, it would not apply to Russian media outlets backed by foreign capital.

Russia's move against USA media is part of the fallout from allegations that Russian Federation interfered in last year's US presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.

The U.S. Justice Department required RT to register in the wake of a January finding by U.S. intelligence agencies that RT and Russia's Sputnik news agency spread disinformation as part of a Russian-government effort to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Putin's spokesman says the USA hampers the Russian news outlets' operation in violation of media freedom, "actions on the basis of the principle of reciprocity can't be excluded".

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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