Russia's Justice Ministry has warned several US government-funded news outlets they could be designated as foreign agents under a new bill that has yet to be fully approved.
Additionally, the law could potentially force media organizations to disclose [AI report] their sources of funding, finances and staffing.
The ministry said Thursday it has notified the US government-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, along with its regional outlets, that they could be designated as foreign agents under the new law. Once the Senate approves the legislation, expected this month, the "foreign agent" amendments to an existing media law would enter into force immediately on being signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. This week Russian state broadcaster RT complied with a US request to register a USA -based affiliate company as a "foreign agent", under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA).
Russian parliament members called the newly passed bill "an exceptional measure which mirrors the US legislation on foreign agents".
Today, Russian officials say that there are actually nine media outlets in total likely to be effected, though in addition to the two contact, the other seven are all just different language versions of Radio Free Europe targeting various parts of the Russian Federation.
It said it had written to the USA government-sponsored Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), along with seven separate Russian or local-language news outlets run by RFE/RL.
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Washington has been accusing Russian media, including RT and Sputnik, of influencing public opinion during the 2016 US presidential election, while Moscow claims that they are being oppressed by USA authorities.
A U.S. State Department spokesperson said Washington was watching the draft legislation "carefully to see whether it is passed and how it is implemented". "Between legal action and registration [as a foreign agent], we have chosen the latter", Simonyan said on Monday.
'FARA does not limit publishing of materials, it only requires registration, labeling, and record-keeping.
"My sincerest condolences to all journalists at all media organizations - Russian and foreign alike - who have been caught up in Washington's political games", Margarita Simonyan said on Wednesday.
"I am writing you once again to urge you to launch a long-overdue FCC investigation into the licenses that have facilitated the use of American airwaves to broadcast information by foreign agents without proper disclosure", Eshoo said in a letter to the FCC. VOA Director Amanda Bennett has said the station remains committed to providing independent news to global audiences.
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