Russian Federation declares nine USA media outlets 'foreign agents'

Current Time a Russian-language network run by Radio Free Europe  Radio Liberty. Credit David W Cerny  R

Current Time a Russian-language network run by Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty. Credit David W Cerny R

Russian Federation could bar access to Russia's lower house of parliament for up to ten American media outlets, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Monday.

Kremlin-funded RT television was registered with the U.S. Justice Department last month as a foreign agent following a demand from Washington.

A committee at the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, on Monday recommended a ban. Earlier, RT, formerly known as Russia Today, was required to register as a "foreign agent", setting off plans to take a similar measure against USA media in Moscow. Moscow has denied any interference.

Russian media reported on Monday that the Justice Ministry could begin listing global media outlets as "foreign agents" as early as this week.

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VOA, RFE/RL and seven media outlets under them will possibly face a series of restrictions, including an entry ban to the Russian parliament.

Foreign correspondents in Russian Federation can now access the parliament and some government agencies using press credentials issued by the Foreign Ministry.

Last week, RT America was stripped of its press credentials for working in the Capitol Hill due to its "foreign agent" status. A key difference between the USA action against RT.com and Russia's retaliatory legislation is that Russia's restrictions can potentially apply to any media organization, not just those which demonstrably receive support and direction from a foreign government. At the time, President Vladimir Putin was said to have some misgivings about the measure on the grounds that it was too broad and could make life hard for Russian media operating in other countries.

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