European Union condemns Russian 'foreign agent' media law as 'threat'

Putin signs bill declaring media ‘foreign agents

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an anti-foreign media law after the Trump administration forced a Russian-owned media outlet to register as a "foreign agent".

According to reports, Russia's Justice Ministry last week warned USA government-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, along with its regional outlets, that they could be designated as foreign agents under the new law, without even allowing the law to come into effect.

Voice of America and the Russia-based outlets run by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, all of which are funded by the USA government, will likely be the first US organizations to face the designation, as Russian lawmakers had already been threatening to do following the RT news.

Russian President Vladimir Putin passed a law that would designate global media outlets as foreign agents.

Russian Federation slammed the move as hypocrisy and an attack on media freedom.

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The Russian Justice Ministry last week published a list of nine USA -backed news outlets that it said could be affected by the changes.

Russian officials have called the new legislation a "symmetrical response" to what they describe as US pressure on Russian media. As told by USA Today, under Putin's law, major networks such as CNN will be declared foreign agents and required to register in Russian Federation as such.

Within hours after the bill passed the State Duma, the Justice Ministry sent warnings to several Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) news services.

The US government and intelligence community both accused RT, formerly known as Russia Today, of being a propaganda outlet for the Kremlin and of spreading false information during the 2016 presidential election. However, it would not apply to Russian media outlets backed by foreign capital.

The letters did not specify what potential restrictions they could face, but lawmakers have said designated media could be subjected to detailed financial-reporting requirements and required to label published material as coming from a foreign agent.

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