Russian Federation says it plans to retaliate against USA owned media in Moscow

RT Chief Editor Margarita Simonyan

Reuters reported that Russian lawmakers said "the move was retaliation for a demand by the U.S. Department of Justice that Kremlin-backed TV station RT register in the United States as a "foreign agent", something Moscow has said it regards as an unfriendly act".

"This requirement is discriminatory, it contradicts the principles of democracy and freedom of speech, it does not give us equal competition with other foreign TV channels that work in America without being registered as foreign agents", she said.

The current Russian law does not restrict activity, but requires organizations to place the "foreign agent" label on all their documents.

According to the BBC, media such as CNN, Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty were named as possible targets for the new law. The restrictions were criticized by the USA and the European Union.

Deputy speaker Sergei Neverov said the amendments would also refer to social networks. Failure to register could result in the seizure of RT's USA bank accounts and the arrest of the senior editor, Simonyan told Russian news outlets.

Russia said last month it had dropped accusations against CNN International of violating Russian media law and that the USA channel could continue broadcasting in Russia.

The US Justice Department has ordered RT to register as an agent of a foreign government by November 13, its editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said Thursday.

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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.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled that he would sign such a law last month, when he told a conference of foreign policy scholars that Russia would respond immediately and reciprocally to "any efforts to limit our mass media".

The assessment also said RT America "has positioned itself as a domestic USA channel and has deliberately sought to obscure any legal ties to the Russian government, " but behind the scenes, "the Kremlin staffs RT and closely supervises RT's coverage, recruiting people who can convey Russian strategic messaging due to their ideological beliefs".

"The brutal pressure on the Russian media proves that the American side is still following the path of conscious deterioration of relations", the embassy said in a statement on Facebook.

On Thursday, Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the upper house's Commission on Information Policy and Interaction with Media, held a meeting to discuss the US move and possible retaliatory steps, a Federation Council statement said.

"... 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.

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