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Russian legislators approve bill targeting foreign media

15 November 2017

During Wednesday's debates, State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin described the new legislation as a "symmetrical answer" to the USA and a signal that "our media can't be treated like that".

Russian MPs on Wednesday backed new legislation allowing foreign media outlets to be listed as "foreign agents" in a reciprocal response to United States pressure on Kremlin-backed TV channel RT. In particular, Twitter banned advertising from the accounts of Russian media outlets RT and Sputnik, with Facebook later claiming that it found election-related posts allegedly used by Russia to influence the outcome of the presidential race. The broadcaster said it would challenge the requirement in court.

It states that such entities can be "recognized as foreign mass media executing the functions of a foreign agent if they receive monetary funds or other property from foreign states, government agencies, foreign-based and global organizations, foreign citizens and persons without citizenship or any other persons acting on behalf of foreign citizens and organizations", according to TASS. They will also be facing a similar responsibility for such NGOs for breach of legislation.

"We view positively and support this", Minkh said.

He noted that the measure would allow Russian Federation to mirror the U.S. demands for RT or any other such action taken by other countries.

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The measures were introduced in response to a move by the U.S. Department of Justice to force RT America, linked to the Kremlin-backed RT, to register as a "foreign agent" after U.S. intelligence officials accused Russian Federation of seeking to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The law, passed after massive anti-Kremlin protests in Moscow, requests all groups that receive foreign funding and engage in vaguely defined political activities to register as foreign agents.

Russian legislators have unanimously approved a bill allowing the government to register worldwide media outlets as foreign agents. In November 2014, the law was expanded by a bill making it illegal for Russian political parties to receive sponsorship from, or enter into any business deals with, NGOs that have "foreign-agent" status.

Russian Federation has moved closer to introducing a law that will allow the government to list any foreign media operating in the country as a foreign agent.

Russian legislators approve bill targeting foreign media