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Russian Federation moves ahead with rules targeting foreign media

15 November 2017

RT television, which is funded by the Kremlin to give a Russian point of view on worldwide affairs, confirmed Monday it has registered as a foreign agent in the United States, meeting a deadline from the US Department of Justice.

The move comes in response to a U.S. Justice Department requirement that RT register as a foreign agent due to its alleged role in interfering in U.S. affairs and the 2016 presidential elections by pushing the Kremlin's agenda.

USA intelligence agencies have alleged that RT served as a tool for the Kremlin to meddle in the 2016 US presidential election.

Moscow will continue to give tit-for-tat responses to pressure on Russian media active in other countries, Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said on Wednesday.

Russian Federation denies it meddled in the 2016 election, and RT has accused the Justice Department of impinging on free speech.

The screen shows the results of vote on the amendments to the Russia's Law on Media in the 3rd (final) reading during a plenary session of the Russian State Duma on November 15.

The bill will pass to the upper house, which is expected to approve it, and then to Putin for signing in the next two weeks. The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said it was too early to say how tough the law would be because the draft did not spell out how it would be applied in practice.

Russian lawmakers have said that federal authorities would be responsible for determining which news outlets would be affected.

"We are making it take selective retaliatory measures - that is the idea of the law, and I hope it will be enforced this way".

A Russian law adopted in 2012 forces NGOs that have global funding and whose activities are deemed "political" to undergo intensive checks and label themselves as "foreign agents" on paperwork and statements.

"This legislation strikes a serious blow to what was already a fairly desperate situation for press freedom in Russia", Denis Krivosheev, the group's deputy director for Europe and Central Asia, said in a statement.

These media will have to declare full details of their funding, finances and staffing while all published materials, including on their websites and social media, must be marked as coming from a "foreign agent".

The report said that RT "conducts strategic messaging for [the] Russian government" and "seeks to influence politics, [and] fuel discontent in the U.S".

Russian Federation moves ahead with rules targeting foreign media