Russian parliament mulls response to USA move on RT

Marie Harrington
November 11, 2017

Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also said on Thursday Russia was considering hitting the US for the deadline.

"We believe that the demand does not only go against the law, and we will prove it in court - the demand is discriminative, it contradicts both the democracy and freedom of speech principles", Simonyan was quoted as saying by RT.

On its Facebook page, the Russian embassy in the US said it took the move to mean that the United States is pursuing a "path of conscious deterioration of relations", and that it considers the registration requirement to be "a desire to eliminate the source of alternative information, an unacceptable violation of global standards of press freedom".

It did not give details, but RIA Novosti, the state-operated domestic Russian-language news agency, said Pushkov named CNN, Voice of America and Radio Liberty with its Current Time TV channel as likely targets for retaliation.

This is not the first time Russian Federation has criticized the US for taking actions against its media outlets.

It was not clear how this label would apply to USA media and how it would potentially affect their work, or how many media outlets would be affected.

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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.

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. "So, the law should provide that media, recognized by foreign agents, indicate the relevant information on these pages", Tolstoy said.

RT, previously known as Russia Today, disputes that it is an agent of the Kremlin, arguing that it merely offers alternatives to mainstream news coverage.

"... While RT is able to work and distribute its content freely in the U.S., RFE/RL has lost all of its broadcast affiliates in Russian Federation due to administrative pressure, it has no access to cable TV, and its reporters are beaten and harassed", Levison said in an emailed comment.

"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.

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

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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