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Published: Sat, November 11, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Russian News Site RT To Register As Foreign Agent After US Request

Russian News Site RT To Register As Foreign Agent After US Request

Reuters reported that Russian lawmakers said "the move was retaliation for a demand by the U.S. Department of Justice that Kremlin-backed TV station RT register in the United States as a "foreign agent", something Moscow has said it regards as an unfriendly act".

Margarita Simonyan, chief editor of RT, said in a statement that she regarded the requirement as contrary to law and the company meant to challenge it in court. "This requirement is discriminatory, it contradicts both the principles of democracy and freedom of speech", she said.

He said the Duma may consider a draft on Wednesday.

Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the lower house of Russia's parliament, the State Duma, charged deputies with updating existing legislation after state-controlled Russia Today (RT) television was ordered by Washington to register as a "foreign agent" by Monday. It would require RT to label anything it produces - making it clear its reports are distributed on behalf of the Russian state. The restrictions were criticized by the USA and the European Union. Simonyan said the head of RT's US subsidiary risked detention and the organization's bank accounts could be frozen if it didn't register.

The Department of Justice originally set a November 13 deadline for RT to register as a foreign agent in the wake of the federal and congressional probes into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.

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.

The Kremlin has even taken aim at privately owned CNN, which has been the subject of criticism from Russia, for what the government views as anti-Russian reporting.

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.

RT has become a focus of the United States investigations into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. "So, the law should provide that media, recognized by foreign agents, indicate the relevant information on these pages", Tolstoy said. Memorial, one of Russia's oldest human rights groups, which has for three decades sought to expose Soviet mass killings and arrests, and the Levada Center, an independent polling agency, were registered as foreign agents by Russia's Ministry of Justice.

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