Russia labels American outlets as ‘foreign agents’
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law on new measures allowing authorities to list media outlets as “foreign agents” in response to what Kremlin says is unacceptable Washington pressure on Russian media abroad.
The law passed through both Russian houses of parliament in the last two weeks. It will allow Moscow to force foreign media to brand news they provide to Russians as the work of “foreign agents” and oblige them disclose their funding sources.
A copy of the law was published on the Russian government’s online legislation database on Saturday, saying it entered into force from the day of its publication.
Russia’s move against American media is part of the fallout from allegations that Russia interfered in last year’s presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.
US intelligence officials have accused Kremlin of using Russian media organizations it finances to influence voters, and Washington has since required Russian state broadcaster RT (Russia Today) to register a U.S.-based affiliate company as a “foreign agent”.
The Kremlin has repeatedly denied meddling in the election and said the restrictions on Russian broadcasters in the United States are an attack on freedom of speech.
The Russian Justice Ministry last week published a list of nine American news outlets which could fall under new rules.
It said it had written to the government-sponsored Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), along with seven separate Russian or local-language news outlets run by RFE/RL.