Russian foreign ministry says retaliation against United States media could begin next week

Jerome Frank
November 11, 2017

The speaker of the State Duma, Russia's lower house, Friday asked the house committees to prepare a legislative response to the "U.S. pressure on Russian media".

"We believe that the demand does not only go against the law, and we will prove it in court", RT's editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said Thursday, according to the website. "This requirement is discriminatory, it contradicts both the principles of democracy and freedom of speech", she said.

Russia's parliament warned on Friday some USA and other foreign media could be declared "foreign agents" and obliged to regularly declare full details of their funding, finances and staffing.

The Justice Department had first called for RT America to register as a foreign agent in September. "In relation to websites of foreign mass media, which are not registered in Russian Federation as mass media but which spread public, socially significant information, these measures also will apply", state news agency Tass quoted Alexander Zharov, head of the government's media oversight agency Roskomnadzor, as saying.

This is not the first time Russian Federation has criticized the USA for taking actions against its media outlets. "Since such decisions are being made on USA territory in relation to our TV channels, it will be right for us to respond to these actions". It's been revealed that Russian agents used U.S-based social media platforms to spread false information created to help boost Donald Trump's candidacy, and several people involved in President Trump's campaign are being investigated by the Justice Department over possible collusion with Russia.

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Amid continued controversy about Russia's role in trying to influence last year's USA presidential election, Twitter last month banned advertising by RT and by the state-funded Sputnik news agency.

He said some US media in Russian Federation were trying to turn USA public opinion against Moscow. Deputy speaker Sergei Neverov said the amendments would also refer to social networks. 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.

The broadcaster, RT, reported Thursday that the U.S. Department of Justice has demanded the registration be done by Monday.

"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.

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

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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