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

RT Chief Editor Margarita Simonyan

US intelligence agencies said in January that RT and the news agency Sputnik, along with a network of "quasi-government trolls", interfered in the 2016 USA presidential election on behalf of the Russian government by pushing anti-American propaganda, claims that RT denies.

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.

The 2012 Russian law now applies only to non-governmental organizations that receive foreign funding and are considered to engage in political activity.

The chief editor of a Kremlin-funded satellite TV channel says the network will accede to a USA demand to register as a foreign agent but also intends to challenge the order in court. "Since such decisions are being made on USA territory in relation to our TV channels, it will be right for us to respond to these actions".

The government of Russian Federation in a tit-for-tat response to U.S.

In case of failure to comply with this demand within this period of time, the bank accounts of RT America can be frozen, while its head could face arrest. In short, in this situation the company would not be able to work.

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Russian news media reported in October that the upper house of the Russian parliament had drawn up a blacklist of at least five USA media outlets whose activities in Russia could be restricted in response.

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

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".

In its January report, USA intelligence called RT "the Kremlin's principal global propaganda outlet", saying it was part of "Russia's state-run propaganda machine", which had "contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging".

"The Russian side has repeatedly warned that any measures limiting activity of the Russian mass media in the United States will inevitably trigger an immediate symmetrical response, as provided for in the Russian legislation", the Russian Embassy in the U.S. The decision came in the wake of investigations into Kremlin attempts to interfere in the 2016 USA presidential election.

Human rights groups have condemned the label, who say it echoes Soviet-era attacks on dissidents.

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