Several American media outlets are facing new restrictions in Russian Federation as Moscow retaliates against a Kremlin television channel being forced to register as a "foreign agent" in the US.
Moreover, on Friday, Ivan Melnikov, the first deputy speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament, said foreign media outlets would be included in the Russian law on "foreign agents", adding that corresponding amendments would be made next week. That label is usually applied to non-governmental organisations with funding from overseas, and is widely seen as a way of smearing groups that question the authorities. The three were earlier described in parliament as "part of a larger-scale American system of pressure on..." The paperwork lists Mikhail V. Solodovnikov as the sole owner of T&R.
"Between legal action and registration [as a foreign agent], we have chosen the latter", Simonyan said, according to the RT, which said Justice told it had to register back iThe Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) "requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of those activities".
RT disputes the accusation that it is an agent of the Russian government, saying it offers alternatives to mainstream news coverage. "We're uncomfortable with governments deciding what constitutes journalism or propaganda".
The Russian Embassy in Washington suggested Thursday that US -based news organizations with reporters in Moscow could face retaliation.
Dana Boente, the acting assistant attorney general for national security, said in a statement that Washington-based T&R Productions, LLC, "registered today with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) as an agent for ANO TV-Novosti, the Russian government entity responsible for the worldwide broadcasts of the RT Network (RT)".
The embassy warned restrictions on the activities of Russian media "would inevitably entail immediate and reciprocal measures".
FARA requires detailed disclosures of the activities of individuals and organizations that attempt to influence USA policy or public opinion for foreign governments and government-controlled organizations.
Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker in the Russian parliament, said: "What the USA authorities are doing today is an infringement of fundamental civil rights, of freedom of speech".
The requirements are enforced by the Justice Department, but some critics, including the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen.