Russian Federation prepares to label USA media as 'foreign agents'

Posted November 11, 2017

According to the BBC, media such as CNN, Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty were named as possible targets for the new law.

The Justice Department had first called for RT America to register as a foreign agent in September. He stressed that foreign agent status could be very unsafe for RT staff and all those who interact with this TV channel.

Russian influence in the USA has come under increasing scrutiny in the months following the 2016 presidential elections.

Tensions between the US and Russian Federation have escalated steadily since President Donald Trump came to power in January, as his campaign promises to improve relations have faltered under the pressure of mounting investigations into the allegations that Russian Federation helped secure his victory.

FARA requires registration "if an agent disseminates informational materials, by mail or by any means or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce, and intends the materials to be disseminated among two or more persons". In short, in this situation the company would not be able to work.

Russia said last month it had dropped accusations against CNN International of violating Russian media law and that the US channel could continue broadcasting in Russia.

RT began operations in 2005 under the brand Russia Today, claiming to present the Russian view on global news and to cover stories ignored by mainstream Western news media.

"Reciprocal measures will be put in place to ensure the same restrictions as the Americans are now trying to impose on Russian media outlets", Tolstoy said.

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

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday in an interview on Russian television that Russia is working on practical steps in response to USA government pressure on Russian-government owned media operating in the U.S.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled that he would sign such a law last month, when he told a conference of foreign policy scholars that Russia would respond immediately and reciprocally to "any efforts to limit our mass media". Asked by a Russian television talk show host Thursday whether "The Washington Post and the New York Times should pack their suitcases", she said "Hold on, not all at once, we'll unpack our surprise bit by bit".

An intelligence report in January alleged the outlet spearheaded "strategic messaging for [the] Russian government", fueling political conflicts in the US during the 2016 campaign.

RT has been singled out as a propaganda outlet in the wake of alleged Russian meddling in the USA presidential vote.

The Russian law on foreign agents in recent years has been used on nongovernmental groups that do not toe the Kremlin party line. Groups on the list are subject to tight scrutiny by officials and must place the words "foreign agent" on all their publications, a label that recalls Soviet-era denunciations of spies and fifth-columnists. The organizations have disputed the decision.