Russian Federation crafting new law forcing United States media to register as 'foreign agents'

Russian state-owned television station RT logo is seen at the window of the company's office in Moscow on Oct. 27 2017

Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the State Duma, said the Parliament could back such a legislation as early as next week, arguing that some US media were attempting to turn public opinion in Russia, Reuters reported.

Sergei Neverov, parliamentary head of the pro-Kremlin party United Russia, said "we'll not just draft proposals, but a commission will work out broader measures, which may include social media networks".

USA and any other foreign media that fall under the new restrictions could have to regularly disclose to Russian authorities full details of their funding, finances and staffing and might be obliged to say on their social media profiles and internet sites visible in Russia that they are "foreign agents". "In relation to websites of foreign mass media, which are not registered in Russian Federation as mass media but which spread public, socially significant information, these measures also will apply", state news agency Tass quoted Alexander Zharov, head of the government's media oversight agency Roskomnadzor, as saying.

On Thursday, RT Managing Director Alexey Nikolov said at a meeting of the Provisional Commission of Russia's Federation Council (upper house of parliament) on Information Policy and Media Interaction that he had not registered as a foreign agent in the United States within the period of time set by the U.S. authorities.

"These are not media, but propaganda tools with 100 percent funding from the USA budget", Pushkov was quoted as saying.

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Simonyan said on RT's Russian-language website that "between such consequences and registration as a foreign agent, we are forced to choose registration".

A Russian senator involved in media policy, Alexei Pushkov, said those U.S. media organisations "should be subject to restrictions, including their services as part of cable TV packages".

Amid continued controversy about Russia's role in trying to influence last year's USA presidential election, Twitter last month banned advertising by RT and by the state-funded Sputnik news agency. Simonyan said that RT will comply, otherwise she could be arrested and the news outlet's accounts frozen.

Russian officials have signaled that CNN, Voice of America and Radio Liberty could be among USA media targeted by the law.

The government of Russian Federation in a tit-for-tat response to U.S. In the past, the ministry also has mentioned CNN, which does not receive US government funds, but is a frequent target of criticism by the Russian government for what it says is anti-Russian bias in its reporting. Groups on the list are subject to tight scrutiny by officials and must place the words "foreign agent" on all their publications, a label that recalls Soviet-era denunciations of spies and fifth-columnists.

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