Russia's Putin signs 'foreign agents' media law

Mandy Carr
November 28, 2017

The U.S. government has since required RT to register a U.S. -based affiliate company as a "foreign agent".

The amendments on foreign media went into effect after President Vladimir Putin signed off on them on Saturday, allowing Russian authorities to label outlets as "foreign agents" for receiving funding from overseas.

The new law has been rushed through both Russian houses of parliament in the last two weeks. Russia's new and retaliatory law went quickly into effect and can be reviewed in its entirety on Russia's legislative database.

Russian Federation slammed the move as hypocrisy and an attack on media freedom.

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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In a move condemned by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, US and other foreign media will have to present themselves as foreign agents on all paperwork and submit to intensive scrutiny of staffing and financing. He added that Russian Federation respects press freedom and treats foreign media equally.

Putin authorized the law in direct response to the U.S. Department of Justice's insistence earlier this month that RT America register under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), which requires the outlet to fork over sensitive financial information.

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

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.

"RT and Sputnik distribute freely in the USA, whereas RFE/RL has lost its broadcast affiliates in Russian Federation due to administrative pressures, and has no access to cable", it said.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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